Vodka Lemon

Russian Kurdish community fight for survival

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Dour, taciturn men in fur hats. Vast expanses of frozen steppe. A cheap, poisonously alcoholic beverage called Vodka Lemon. And the kind of mordant black comedy that thrives in extreme hardship. This atmospheric, starkly beautiful film is set in a small, ice-bound Kurdish village that’s struggling to come to terms with life after Soviet rule. With the fall of Communism comes the free market, but that’s small comfort for the villagers who have no money to buy and little to sell. And widowed former army officer Hamo really starts to feel the cold now that gas and electricity are no longer free.

But there are flashes of hope amid such privation. A letter from Hamo’s son in Paris is a cause for misplaced optimism for the whole village. And Hamo quietly and sorrowfully finds himself falling in love with a woman he sees at the cemetery. With the bleak humour of Aki Kaurism


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