Village of Women
- Italy Torino Underground Cinefest 2022 Best Documentary
- Serbia International Festival of Ethnological Film 2021 (Competition)
- USA Global Cinema Film Festival 2021Best Picture Award
- Armenia Golden Apricot Yerevan IFF 2020 (Armenian Panorama)
- Georgia CinéDOC-Tbilisi IDFF 2020 (Caucasian House)
- Romania Astra Film Sibiu IFF 2020 (Central & Eastern Europe Competition)
- Israel DOC AVIV 2020 (Panorama)
- South Korea International Documentary Film Festival 2020
- Italy Film Festival della Lessinia 2020 (International Competition) Best Film by a Young Director
- France États généraux du film documentaire 2020 (Docmonde)
- France Festival La Rochelle Cinéma 2020
- Italy Sole Luna Doc FF 2020 (Official Selection) Best direction
- Germany DOK Leipzig 2019 (International Competition) World Premiere
Armenia, a village called Lichk where only women, children and the elderly reside. Men leave 9 months of the year to Russia to work. How do these women endure waiting, loneliness, and the absence of their husbands? I film their life and intimacy, become a confidante, hear and share their frustrations, joys and desires.
A village where women, children and elderly reside. Men leave 9 months of the year to Russia to work. Summer, a slow and friendly atmosphere; women do the hay, cut the grass and store for the winter. Fruits will be canned to be eaten during the cold winter. The sun arouses a certain laziness, a sensual relaxation. Autumn, with it’s different shades of red, is the season of birth and potato harvest. Women and men find intimacy in the coldness of winter, hence women give birth in October and November. Fathers meet their children in December. Preparations start now to welcome men, waiting is long and tiring. Winter is near, a form of suspense sets in: whose husband will come first ? The men arrive with the snow.
The women are shy, they need time to exist in the presence of men. The children are happy to be close to their fathers. Spring sets in, the atmosphere becomes tensed. Men depart for the land of tsars. She is weak and sad, but needs to find strength to take care of the children.
Being in exile, first in Lebanon and now in France, I often have the desire, the need to return to Armenia. I need to feel linked to my homeland and to those who live in it. I love listening to their stories. In the past years, I have been stricken by the fact that my country is being emptied, especially of its men. Why have they left? Why are there so many villages where only women, children and elderly reside?
The streets are empty, the villages are empty, the young people have left, the elderly seem to wait for death. Men, have left Armenia in order to work in Russia, due to economic crisis in the country there are no well paid jobs for men in the villages. They make a living outside in order to take care of their wives and children back in the homeland. Women are left alone to run the daily life, to cultivate the land and to take all the decisions. I can’t help but ask myself, who are these women? What do they take from life? What does life bring to them? Who comforts them when they need to cry? Who holds their hand when they need it so desperately? With who they share their joy and laughter? At night, alone in their big bed waiting for “him” to call, how do they cross the blue moon and the shining stars in order to be strong and straight in the morning to lead the day? All these questions made me take the plane back “home” in search of these remarkable women who have accepted to stay in this space, to raise the children and to take care of the elderly. They keep on believing and fighting for their family to exist amid the distance between them and their husbands. Everything seems serene from the outside, yet their souls are troubled and their peace is disturbed. A silent fright in their gestures and regard of these women. Will the “skype” ring? Is he alone there? Has he formed another family? Will she end up all alone and forgotten in this small village with her children without ever seeing him again. Has he forgotten their love by finding refuge in another women’s regard?
A seasonal film to explore the daily life of a village where children, elderly and women are the pillars of a patriarchal society. The laughter and tears of their children gives them strength. Their own hidden tears at night puts in question the complexity and fear of his return. The young boys grow up knowing that one day they will leave and join their fathers. They will become a “man” like him. Until their “time comes” they enjoy the tenderness and love of their loving mothers.
The characters of my films are often a prey to waiting, to mourning or to exile; they live in frustration and the oppressed desire. I try to capture their states of mind by trying to make the implicit, the secret, the unspoken, vibrate in the very heart of silence. I try to express feelings by attaching myself to rhythms, colours and sounds. Painting and literature are my main sources of inspiration. I am thinking, for example, of how Vermeer or Hammershoi illuminate their solitary figures. Or the way in which Carson McCullers - in The Heart is a lonely hunter - criss-crosses different solitary characters to finally melt them into a single destiny, a unique lament.