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Vodka Lemon

A poignant award winning Armenian movie “Vodka Lemon” which was that country’s entry to the Oscars in 2003. It won the best film at Venice and Newport International Film Festivals. Its a stark story of two individuals Hamo (Romen Avinian) and Nina (Lala Sarkissian) both of whom have lost their spouses. Its a bleak life where they live in Armenia, completely snow clad and hardly any occupation going by to earn their living. Hamo has three sons, one in France and another in Tashkent and third with him but not having any job. Nina has two daughters, one is married and settled in Kazakhstan and the second one is a pianist in a hotel club. But the reality of the second daughter is known only towards the end of the film. Both Hamo and Nina visit the graveyard daily to be with their loved ones in spirit. Both are deeply affected by the tragedies and slowly some romantic interest stirs between them. The name Vodka Lemon is the name of the store that Nina manages somewhere along the roadside, but the business is bad at the store and it looks likely to close down. Hamo starts selling his things one by one in order to make some money. Director Hiner Saleem has done a good job though the script is weak at times, he has controlled the pace of the movie quite admirably. The perennial sadness in Nina’s eyes gives way to some hope and glitter as the movie goes by. The movie marks the period just after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bleak landscape of poverty and sufferings is a hark back to those terrible times during the USSR rule. Music and cinematography is fantastic, shot as it was in a snow blanket all around. Both Romen and Lala have good roles, others don’t have any major roles in the film.

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