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ANGEL ON THE RIGHT

Tadjikistan, 2002 (MIFF 2003, International Panorama)

Director: Djamshed Usmonov

Khamro, a burly, violent Tadjikistani thug, ran out on his hometown a decade ago. He left behind a disgraced mother, a pregnant girlfriend, and a trail of debts, then wound up in a Russian jail. The prodigal son has now returned and the locals are demanding he assume responsibility for his dying mother, a ten year old son and outstanding loans.

In this London and Rotterdam Film Festival selection, Khamro's mother feigns terminal illness in order to pressure her wayward boy into renovating her home as a death-bed wish. This further complicates his difficult position, what with a corrupt Mayor threatening a shallow grave, having already ordered a savage beating.The film combines the humanism common to Iranian cinema, the realities of a nation torn between tradition and a drug-subsidised economy and a deeply involving small-town saga.

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