I’ll start off by saying that this movie is quite rare. I’ve been living in this country for as long as I can remember, and I haven’t heard of it. Thanks to one of my friends on Facebook (Rizvan Huseynov), he shared some info on this film, and I got interested. So, credit goes to him for sharing this with me.
There was very little info on the film online, so one of the things I could find was that it was originally a series, not a pilot movie.
Probably for releasing it on DVD, they compiled a 2hour film from the whole series. And that’s exactly what I watched. The movie itself (english title: “The Memory”) is a war drama, telling the story of Nagorno Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The story is being told in a flashback, as first we see Azer on the operating table in a clinic, where he suddenly awakens from coma, and his memory starts coming back. He starts remembering what happened to him…
1991. Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh region. In the center of the story we have 4 friends – Azer, Hasan, Ali and Huseyn, who come to Karabakh from Baku (the capital of Azerbaijan) and they have a good reason to be happy – Azer is getting ready to get married to Arzu, a girl from the local village.
In the meantime, russian and armenian troops are already planning the deadly assault on the village, and not wasting any time, they do just that. As soon as the village is under attack, Azer and his friends decide to stay and fight off the invaders. They manage to get some old rifles, and the battle begins…
From a technical point of view, the film is pretty solid, we have drama in the middle of a bloody war, we also get to see some nice action, although for a 2 hour film, there weren’t so many of those action scenes.
Story wise, its hard to comment, knowing that this is a pilot movie, and that the whole story was probably a lot more detailed in the original series. Nonetheless, we get enough to understand what’s going on. Surprisingly (for Azerbaijani film) there is a rape scene, and a scene where Armenian kills a small child.
For the sake of the film, this was probably done for adding more realism, as these kind of incidents did happen during the real war back in the early 90s.
As far as acting goes, its rather pale, but here we do not really expect any great acting as the story is based on real events, and actors behave just like they would have in the real world.
There is, of course, some political subtext in the dialogues, however we’re not being told the story of the whole war, just a small part of it. There is also a couple of twists during the end of the film, which were also interesting.
Director of the film Vahid Mustafayev is well aware of the Karabakh war, as his brother Chingiz Mustafayev, a well known director of photography in Azerbaijan, died during the Karabakh war.
I suppose the title of the movie “The Memory” has a split meaning – first it’s Azer’s memory in the film, the other is director’s memory of his brother (the film is dedicated to C. Mustafayev and those who died during the war).
So, to sum it up, whether you will like this movie or not depends on your knowledge of the Karabakh war itself. This is not z-grade crappy war movie, and its not a blockbuster either.
Compared to “5 Days in August” movie about Russia-Georgia war, this particular film is far more realistic, but less known worldwide.
And as far as the real Karabakh war goes… it still continues, as Azerbaijani lands are still occupied, and the IDP’s cannot move back to their homes. This was the bloodiest Caucasus war, after the fall of the Soviet Union.
BZFILM SCALE: 5/10
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