The kind of film you give the backhanded compliment "Shows promise." The director was young, it's her first film, and if she dropped the show-offy (Art Film 101) stuff and found something she really needed to say - there's certainly a powerful film to be made from the conflicts in the Caucasus that followed in the wake of the Soviet collapse, but this isn't it - she might amount to something.
The Lighthouse (2006)
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Powerful And Imaginative: A Cinematic Genius
20 May 2020
Mayak is the first feature film directed by a woman in Armenia, since the birth of Armenian cinema in the early 1920 It's a combination of anti-war ideas and semi-autobiographical material, fixated with haunting score and poetic cinematography, with the latter made more explicit in this brilliant film. The movie feels authentic, doesn't try to force emotions unlike other war films. I loved this film on three or four levels, including the beautiful use of metaphor and political allegory, the brilliant acting, and perhaps most importantly, the photography and the images which cause strong emotional reactions in the mind. Essential viewing for the fans of Emir Kusturica, Georgiy Daneliya, Andrei Tarkovsky, Larisa Shepitko and Frantisek Vlácil.
20 March 2012
I really like this film because it did not contain any dialogue that did not sound true to life.It deals with a very bleak subject matter in a mature and unsentimental way. This adds to the atmosphere of the film. It is filmed wonderfully in a swirling picture of colour that echos the stark situation of a rural village caught up in a war that is forced upon them. It is spiritually beautiful and life affirming without trite resolutions. I would recommend this film highly as it challenges the viewer to form a reasoned response to what is presented before them.I do not like war films full of special effects and blood splattered walls when just a visceral response is unavoidable.This approach often lends itself to a numbing effect where human life has no value at all. I do remember the colours used in this film as they were central to the emotional content of the film.
22 September 2020
It's a mystery to me why this film is not better known. If the director hadn't died so young, perhaps her continuing career would have brought it the attention it deserves. Highly compressed depiction of life under war in the Caucasus, eighty minutes and never a dull shot, slender story is filled out with poetic imagery and a vivid sense of enduring life.