Internationally focused cinema is getting quite the showcase in this season’s run of films presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures at Campbell Hall, with The Band’s Visit (a charming tale about an Egyptian orchestra arriving in Israel) and Sharkwater (a stunning story about the worldwide disasters that occur as a result of shark hunting) already hitting the screen. The next entry, Tuya’s Marriage by Chinese director Wang Quanan, is about a poor rural woman who must find a new husband and proves to be a revealing take on the melancholy that is daily life in the steppes of Mongolia. The film will screen at Campbell Hall on Wednesday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 for the public, $5 for students. Visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu for details. And here are three reasons why you should take a look at Tuya and relish the award-winning portrayal of this land that our contemporary historians are trying so hard not to forget.
1) It’s visually stunning: One thing’s certain about films from Mongolia: the landscape footage is bound to be remarkable. In the case of Tuya’s Marriage, cinematographer Lutz Reitemeier casts the high desert as a lonely, forbidding land-the perfect setting for a plot of one woman’s fight to keep her way of life intact.
2) It’s a lesson in perseverance: Despite being given every excuse to forget her past and move into an urban future, our protagonist Tuya fights to protect her family; a message that we always need to be reminded of in today’s fractious world.
3) Life isn’t always rosy: It’s an easy thing to forget, living in Santa Barbara, but life is tough for the millions of people fighting to retain their rural, traditional ways of life in the seemingly never-ending fight against the flood of modernization. Tuya is caught somewhere in the middle of this fight, and given the challenges, one can expect the ponderous tone of the film to persist to the very end.