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celestial wives of the meadow mari ( nebesnye zheny lugovykh mari )

Aleksey Fedorchenko | 2013 | O.V. Russian | S.T. English | Russia | 106min | color

Synopsis :

The film opens on a snowy expanse where a smartly dressed young woman is trying to flee some hectoring carnival figures. There follows a series of portraits of women — whose names all begin with the letter O — over the changing seasons. Indolent Odocha, after sacrifices, prayers and visits to the witch doctor prove fruitless, ends up admitting she offended the sacred birch. Oropti wakes up one day with a voracious bird living in her genitals that will only go away if her husband sleeps with Ovda, a monstrous forest creature. In the Mari meadows we also meet Onalcha, who makes love to the wind, Onya, whose husband plays the bagpipes non-stop, Ormarche, a virginal young girl who crashes the kissel festival, only to flee in horror... Aleksey Fedorchenko takes obvious pleasure in filming these voluptuous women, frank in their carnal desires. His film provides a glimpse into the beliefs of the Mari people of Russia, who have kept their traditional culture and language intact. The Russian director pieces together a puzzle that can be farcical or melancholy but is always a wonderfully skilful balancing act on the thin line separating fact from fiction.