Film Archive

Nothing to Be Afraid Of

Documentary Film
Armenia,
France
2019
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Stéphane Jourdain
Silva Khnkanosian
Vahagn Ter-Habobyan
Justine Hiriart
Paruyr Baghyan
Five women plod their way through a steep forest: They are defusing landmines for an NGO. Ever since the war in Nagorno-Karabakh at the beginning of the 1990s, the still disputed region is contaminated. Care and patience are imperative in this work, the effects of habituation their enemy. Speed would be a category with fatal consequences here: Every booby trap they overlook can cost a human life.

This observational documentary adapts its narrative rhythm to the slowness and meticulousness of the risky job. The women’s eyes are directed to the ground where they patiently search every square inch and dig up suspicious spots. The camera observes their activities with the same attention, frequently focusing on details. Gradually, the systematics of the processes are revealed. Only the beeping of the metal detectors and an occasional whistle disturb the silence. The forest seems silent after the long years of war. But then we are startled by the controlled detonation of a detected mine. What a relief for everyone to spend the evening in their shared accommodation in a relaxed atmosphere! Cooking and eating together brings some ease. The ever-present fear is left behind in the forest for a moment.

Annina Wettstein

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Village of Women

Documentary Film
Armenia,
France
2019
92 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Stéphane Jourdain (La Huit), Tsovinar Soghomonyan (Hayk Studio), Thierry Barbedette (TV 78)
Tamara Stepanyan
Nils Økland, Sigbjørn Apeland, Narine Harutyunyan, Grigor Narekatsi, Cynthia Zaven, Edouard Mirzoyan
Robin Fresson, Tamara Stepanyan
Olivier Ferrari, William Wojda
Harutyun Mangasaryan, Tamara Stepanyan, Jean-Marc Schick
It’s the women who rule this Armenian village. They plough, harvest, and drive the tractors. They cook, eat together, laugh and sing. Life runs in a smooth rhythm, although melancholy seems to overshadow many conversations. The absence of men in the village is borne like a phenomenon of nature. The women have learned to adapt, solving problems together. All male villagers, except for a few old men, spend nine months of every year in Russia to work there. There are no jobs in Armenia. The families are complete only in winter. As soon as autumn begins to fade, the mood in the village begins to change. The return of the men brings excitement and joy, but also insecurity and changes. After the exuberant welcome celebrations, a new daily routine begins where couples are suddenly together again, children play with their fathers and the women finally know that a part of their workload is in other hands. But responsibilities must be redistributed every year.

Director Tamara Stepanyan has achieved a warm-hearted, stylistically assured portrait of a female community of fate who bear their difficult circumstances with lots of humour, warmth and a generous measure of lived feminism.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.