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Vodka Lemon Review

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Chronicle of the daily privations of a Kurdish-Armenian community oppressed by terrible weather and a severe cash shortage, but focusing on the attraction between a widow and widower.

★★★★★

This squats within the well-established arthouse genre of suffering-peasant movie, chronicling the daily privations of a Kurdish-Armenian community oppressed by terrible weather and a severe cash shortage. But Hiner Saleem takes a subject other directors might explore in three hours of grinding misery and, focusing on the attraction between widower Hamo (Avinian) and widow Nina (Sarkissian), delivers a peculiar post-Soviet shrug.

Embodying a wry worldweariness that suggests life may be awful but there’s no point in taking it too seriously, Vodka Lemon offers moments of weird comedy, with all manner of absurd objects being hauled through the snow to be sold for much-needed US dollars. It’s a slight effort, sure, but is at least distinguished by its sweet, elderly romance and a streak of fantastical whimsy.