Russian President Vladimir Putin called the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe”. One can dispute this notion but what is indisputable is that on a personal level a lot of people who lived in the former Soviet republics suffered a lot of depravity when they suddenly became independent countries in August of 1991 and their lives radically changed,
One of these countries was Armenia. And some of the most suffering people there were the members of intelligentsia, who found themselves without means of existence and no sense of purpose. In his film Hot Country, Cold Winter Armenian director David Sarafian mixes realism and poetry to explore another dark period in the history of his long-suffering people. But don't expect to get all the answers to the many questions asked by this film.
On the surface it is a story of a man and a woman from artistic circles who are suffering through circumstances of a total winter energy crisis. But in some ways this is merely a pretext to delve deeper into the problem of an artist living through hard times. Their recollections and their imagination are used here to help understand not only the story as such, but to appeal to core human values which are universal.
The director, who lived through this period himself, says: “Reminiscences will involuntarily and randomly come up from the depth of your memory. Sometimes you will coax them out yourself, but you will never be able to stop them burbling up by saying – ‘I don't want to remember’. In this case we are dealing with absurd, with the absurdity of hard times. Also the destiny of my film is like a classical hard destiny of a fairy tale character with all its transformations”.
Hot Country, Cold Winter was an official selection for the main competition of the 2015 Tallinn International Film Festival in Estonia.