Gnel, an elderly man, wanders and meditates in his isolated village in the mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Caucasian state self-proclaimed as autonomous 30 years ago. He remembers his family and ponders philosophical questions about time, destruction and life.
In keeping with the opening sequence, the director weaves Gnel’s narrative to shed light on the landscape, the destinies and the ruin that reign in this endlessly-warring country.
First, by word of mouth comes the warning: a small fire risks becoming an uncontrollable blaze; rain could turn into flooding; danger is never far off, and peace can never be taken for granted; after this comes the quest for meaning and tranquillity.
As for the images, the opening darkness moves in still, static shots of ruins and tombs in a fragile, hazy texture. Little by little, fuelled by the powerful energy of the mountains, the frame gains height and fluidity until it reaches the altitude of flight. A quote from Jonathan Livingstone Seagull lands like a message of resilience: the legacy is one of conflict, humiliations and bereavements, but also of a voracious thirst for light and freedom.
Jimmy Deniziot & Roxanne Riou
Pre-selectors for the États Généraux du Film Documentaire – Lussas
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