In the opening scene of this slowly unfolding drama set in a rural village of the former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan, an infant son is given to a childless couple. Beshkempir (a name given to him to ward off the evil eye) is close to his grandmother and frightened of his strict, disciplinarian father. The only contact the village has with the wider world is film. One is shown of a woman belly dancer and the people in the town square are transfixed.

Beshkempir and his pre-adolescent buddies playfully douse each other with mud and stir up a bee's nest. They spy on a bare-breasted woman applying leeches to her flesh. Later they make a figure of a female in the sand and pretend they are having sex with her. Beshkempir's attraction to a pretty girl arouses the ire of a friend who fights him over her. The boy then tells Beshkempir that he's a poor orphan who was adopted. Eventually his father tells him the truth. Beshkempir is forced to grow up quickly at the death of his beloved grandmother. This visually elegant coming-of-age drama directed by Aktan Abdykalykov vividly conveys the rhythms of ordinary life in a rural community.