Test: A Hypnotic and Absorbing Film Out of the Wordless Daily Occurrences
Young love blossoms everywhere. Even on the steppes of Central Asia where sheep farmers’ huts are separated by seemingly endless expanses. Even in a rural household with no neighbors in sight, with only a lovely teenage girl and her hardworking, weary-eyed father live, where the daily routine is so predictable and unchanging that no words need be spoken. Feelings are unfathomable, yet all is silently understood.
The steppes have their unique beauty, especially in the raking sunrises and sunsets, and director Alexander Kott has made a hypnotic and absorbing film out of the wordless daily occurrences that reveal the relationships of these desolate neighbors. The girl’s classic dark-haired beauty has attracted the attention of an intense, grim-visaged Kazakh boy on horseback, and the interest is mutual. But an easygoing young man with a big smile from a film crew that has wandered into the area also has eyes for her.
Unbeknown to the characters as they carry on in their daily lives, the government was conducting tests into the development of the most powerful bomb then known to humankind. All will be changed by a test.
Every object, every interaction, every physical phenomenon has been turned into a piece of art by the camera’s eye. Glistening raindrops, sunlight distorted through a broken window, a weathered cabin, they are the colors of Test’s palette.
One day a lengthy caravan of equipment trucks passes through. What they are carrying and why they are there remains a mystery. It is not until the end of the film that the small, gently unfolding human dramas attain their greatest poignancy. The pastoral symphony of life on the steppes is about to change irrevocably in a blinding flash.