Don't Cry

Amir Karakulov, Kazakhstan, 2003; 80m
Don't Cry
Amir Karakulov's latest film is a boldly experimental departure. Shot in intimate and colorfully vibrant DV, JYLAMA is the story of a Chinese-trained opera singer living in a remote Kazakh village with her grandmother and her ailing young niece. The bulk of the action consists of the steadfast heroine trying to make enough money to get the rare and costly medicine that may save her niece's life. What makes the film so thrilling is that this elemental situation allows Karakulov and his cast of non-actors to illuminate the details of everyday life: reality and fiction dissolve into each other, and the audience achieves a heightened awareness of simple activities like the cooking of a meal, teaching a child to count in Chinese and English, visits to the doctor or the marketplace. Entirely improvised by the filmmaker and his actors, JYLAMA is one movie that puts digital technology to thrilling use.