Controcorrente - Vodka Lemon
- A love story between a widow and a widower, in a village lying deep in the snowy regions of Armenia. A delicate tale that brings a smile to your face
The third feature film by the Kurdish director Hiner Saleem has been presented in the Controcorrente section at Venice. The film is a love story between a widow and a widower, set in a tiny village in post-soviet Armenia. This delicate tale is steeped in the permanently snow-covered and freezing countryside, surrounded by silence and feelings of loneliness. Vodka Lemon is produced for Cinefacto by Fabrice Guez: "I’ve never really liked films that are too sentimental, full of melancholy and heartache. Hiner’s screenplay struck me because even though there certainly is a element of sadness, it shows the character’s lives, cleverly avoiding becoming morose or tearful, and it even makes you laugh or at least give a little smile". Guez is clearly enthusiastic about this difficult, yet fascinating film. "The thing I find extraordinary is the subtlety used to portray the lives of these characters, people who are far away from everything, coming to terms with a new political identity and faced with a devastating loneliness".
The production was also made in collaboration with Italy (Sintra Film), Switzerland (Amka Films) and Armenia (Paradise) with funding from Arte France Cinéma. Vodka Lemon was entirely filmed in Armenia, even though Saleem had initially thought of it being set in Kurdistan. "I wanted to talk about Kurdistan and the drama involving thousands of people who find themselves in the here-and-now without any traces of the past, forced to flee from their own country" said the director "But given the fact that I myself can’t go back to Kurdistan I changed the story to talk about love, though I didn’t forget to show the tragedy of these people who have no means and who are completely alone".
Vodka Lemon will be distributed in Italy by LadyFilm, but it has also been bought by Russia, America, Armenia and Switzerland. There is still no confirmed distributor for France, but the producer expects that it will obtain a theatrical release during the first few months of 2004.
(Translated from Italian)
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