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Vodka Lemon, 1 DVD
Sept dollars par mois de retraite, une armoire, un vieux téléviseur soviétique et un costume militaire pour tout capital, Hamo, bel homme de soixante ans, vit dans un village kurde d'Arménie avec l'un de ses fils et sa petite fille. Une lettre de son deuxième fils arrive de France. Une rumeur se propage selon laquelle l'enveloppe serait pleine de dollars...
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A voir aussi Kilomètre zéro du même réalisateur.
Construit autour de Hamo, un bon vieux kurde au poil blanc comme neige et à l’œil brillant, nostalgique de l’ère soviétique où tout était gratuit (il doit aujourd’hui vivre sur une maigre pension et ses quelques possessions qu’il vend une à une pour une poignée de dollars), "Vodka lemon" enchaîne des scènes de la vie quotidienne, tantôt dramatiques, tantôt absurdes, évitant habilement tout misérabilisme. Ses personnages sont pourtant pauvres et désœuvrés, affichant sur leur visage une profonde mélancolie que seule sait dissiper la boisson locale, une vodka au goût d’amande logiquement nommée vodka lemon.
Si le film sait si bien se jouer de son triste sujet, c’est parce qu’il porte en lui cette touche de folie qu’on ne trouve que chez les cinéastes qui ont connu le pire, mais ont préféré en rire plutôt qu’en pleurer.Lire la suite ›
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Hamo receives a short letter from his son who sends a photo of himself and his new French girlfriend. Hamo had expected him to send money. Money is in short supply. The Soviet Union had provided gas, electricity and other necessities to the village free or at nominal cost but now the villagers must fully pay for these commodities. There is no industry. Most of the villagers tend sheep or travel to a larger town or city to work ... Hamo talks to a portrait of his wife and explains he will have to sell a wardrobe (cabinet) to make some money. He takes the item on his back and parks it out on the main road. A married couple who passby inquire about its price for their daughter who is getting married. Negotiations begin and they haggle back and forth until a price is agreed upon. Hamo ends up selling a television set and also an old Army uniform to get more money. He has plans to win over Nina and also there is the wedding of his granddaughter ...
Nina has a job selling "Vodka Lemon" which is a bottled drink sold at a kiosk, a refreshment stand, near the main highway. Unfortunately business is not good and toward the end of the film, the owner closes the business entirely citing lack of customers. She has a daughter who plays the piano and works at a hotel for tips (although later we learn she earns money in ways other than tips). Their family income is very meager. After Hamo sold his items, he pays the busfare owed by Nina. This kind gesture opens up communication between them. Nina visits Hamo's home and they dance to a tune on the radio as their relationship warms up. In another scene, Hamo invites Nina to the wedding of his granddaughter. The wedding feast is superbly captured on camera. The feeling and mood are well conveyed. Two sheep are slaughtered for the guests consumption. An Armenian traditional band plays music and a female singer serenades the married couple. The wedding banquet is set up outside. There is a long table made up with a tablecloth and dishes ... all of it is out in the cold snow. The married couple sit on chairs on a stage. The wedding reception realistically portrayed and is one of the highlights in the film. Other unique perspectives are the cinematic views of the landscape and the village. We learn this was an arranged marriage with a promise made by the groom to find a job for the father-in-law. There were unexpected dire consequencs for the groom when he failed to keep his end of the bargain/promise. The beginning and ending of the film use pieces of furniture to convey meaning within the scenes, each item represents something important and symbolic. It captures the viewer's attention and creates a continuity and closure to the film. Sadly, Nina ends up selling her daughter's piano ... but it is done for the right reasons and everyone involved is in harmony with this decision. It is very clear that both Hamo and Nina are willing to sacrifice some things of importance to themselves to build a life together. This is a most unusual and delightful film highly engaging and a total pleasure to view. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)
This movie, filmed in a remote, isolated village in post-Soviet Armenia, is about families and death and love, and the beauty and simplicity of life. For those who are purists and love films, this one should be added to your library. It is very simple, and delightful.
In Saleem's world, there is no exit and few prospects. Devotion to the dead provides what seems to be the only connection to what may have been a more prosperous past; the rooms of houses empty as belongings and furniture are literally carried off to be sold in town for a few dollars. A young woman turns to prostitution. A son who has somehow escaped and is living in Paris is no better off. There are finally only small but life-affirming moments of camaraderie, generosity, celebration, and the warmth of the occasional shot of vodka.
I enjoyed this film for its portrayal of humor in the midst of hopelessness. A spring thaw begins to set in at the end - and, who knows, maybe things won't get worse.