Ali Hamroyev Films
Bo Ba Bu
Director: Ali Hamroyev
USSR, Uzbekistan, 1985, 92’, color
Cast: Vyacheslav Bogachyov, Zinaida Sharko, Liliya Gritsenko, Gulya Tashbayeva, Davlyat Khamraev
Ali Hamroyev has made but one theatrical feature in the last two decades: 1998’s decidedly offbeat Bo Ba Bu, a controversial cross-cultural sexual parable for which he lured French actress Arielle Dombasle to Uzbekistan. Dombasle (who is married to French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy) plays a blonde European woman who appears out of nowhere in the Central Asian desert. She is taken into captivity by two shepherds, Bo and Bu, who name her Ba and treat her as property and sexual object. The fact that Hamroyev’s drama is both trading in primal archetypes (the eternal triangle, male rivalry and sexual jealousy, women as commodities of exchange) and completely without dialogue (the characters communicate with grunts and gestures) suggests the allegorical nature of the exercise; to less sympathetic critics, the film treads into the territory of soft-core exploitation.