Film For Thought: New Movie Offers Touching Lesson From Karabakh War

By Gayane Abrahamyan

ArmeniaNow reporter
27.01.12 | 14:14

Friday night the two cinemas in Yerevan will screen the
Armenian-Russian joint film titled “If Everyone…”- a recollection
of the Karabakh war, which, as the authors stress, is about peace
rather than war and a unique call for forgiveness and tolerance. The
screening comes as Armenia celebrates Army Day, January 28.

While bellicose rhetoric is being voiced from rostrums, as peace
negotiations are in a deadlock, the film features people who have seen
the war and looking into each other’s eyes can recognize the same pain,
the same loss, and yet again understand – there are no winners in war.

“This is our call for peace. In real life there are no winners in war,
it is evil that take’s away many innocent lives; it’s really easy to
become embittered against each other, but we have to overcome that,”
says producer and artistic manager of the film Michael Poghosyan.

The production of the film took two years, and produced a tragicomedy
which starts with jokes, depicts a typical atmosphere and common
coloring of an Armenian village with all its flavors, and develops
with people’s fates clashing against bitter reality.

The plot of the 94-minute story weaves around the daughter of a Russian
officer who was killed in the Karabakh war; she comes to Armenia
twenty years after her father’s death and is trying to find his lost
grave to plant the birch seedling she has brought along from home.

After a long search it turns out, however, that her father was killed
on the other side of the border and that’s where his grave is.

Together with her father’s freedom-fighter comrades and the commander
whose life was saved by her father’s death, she manages to cross the
border and find the grave. Here, enemies sharing the same pain come
face to face.

At the very moment when she was planting the birch, an armed Azeri
villager comes up and asks what she is doing. The dramatic effect
of the film reaches its culmination and the pain of war brings foes
closer. After hearing her answer, the man puts down his rifle and
with tears says:

“My ten-year-old son’s grave is on your side, he was killed by a
mine explosion in the courtyard of our house. Who will plant a tree
on his grave?”

While touching, the film is not depressing. Rather, it is
thought-provoking, conveying the value of human warmth, love and peace.

“This is about peace, and if our film rekindles a bit of kindness,
a tiny light in people’s hearts, we will consider it a great success,”
says director of the film, Russian Natalya Beliauskene.

The Russian officer’s daughter is played by Yekaterina Shustova,
a student at Moscow’s Schukin Theatrical Institute, making her
film debut.

“To me Armenia has become a start of a new life; I have made many
discoveries for myself. Before this film I hadn’t known anything about
a war, it [the film] has changed a lot in me,” the young actress,
visiting Yerevan for the premier, told ArmeniaNow.

Poghosyan has dedicated the film to the 20 years of Armenia’s
independence. The $500,000 production was financed with state
assistance, the presidents of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, as well
as Converse Bank and $25,000 from the National Center of Cinema.

Director of National Center of Cinema Gevorg Gevorgyan says with
regret that there isn’t an art film about the Karabakh war on the
international level yet.

“But this film is an important step towards progress; it’s a new word
and I am sure we will have high praise for it,” says Gevorgyan.

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