Synopsis by Mark Deming
Set in what is now Kazakhstan in the second century, this drama concerns a beautiful young woman named Kelin (Gulsharat Zhubayeva) whose father has decided she should marry. Kelin is in love with a poor boy named Mergyen (Kuandyk Kystykbaev), but a wealthier and more powerful man named Baktashi (Erzhan Nurymbet) asks for her hand, and Kelin's father predictably chooses to give Baktashi permission to wed his daughter. The newlyweds move in with Baktashi's mother (Turakhan Sadykova) and younger brother Kaini (Nurzhan Turganbaev), and after some initial anxiety Kelin comes to enjoy married life with her handsome spouse. But Mergyen still loves Kelin, and one day he challenges Baktashi to a fight. Baktashi is killed, but his mother, who has the skills of a shaman, insist that the gods have instead granted Kelin's hand to young Kaini. As Kelin struggles with the heartbreak of losing her husband and being denied a life with the man she loves, she also has to cope with Kaini, who is just old enough to have feelings for the opposite sex and is both nervous and eager about the prospect of enjoying his right as a husband with her. The first directorial assignment for screenwriter Ermek Tursunov, Kelin was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.