“ARAF”— Facing War

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“Araf”

Facing War

Amos Lassen

In a small home, a wife and mother (Basti Jafarova) takes care of her weak and suffering (Sabir Mammadov). She knows that they need food and help so she prepares herself to go look for it even though he husband does not want her to do so. , despite the feeble protests of her ailing spouse.

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In another room, the couple’s young daughter Feride (Konul Iskender) is terribly frightened and unsettled by the noise outside, even when her mother tries to comfort her.  Ali (Afdil Damirov), another family member is a solider who is fighting in the struggle. Believing he is ok, the mother chooses to go out into the night, to gain the needed supplies against the protests of her daughter. Left alone, Feride checks on her bedridden father whose suffering continues to worsen. Wanting to relieve his pain, Feride goes to find the medicine that her mother told her to give him.

The noise we hear is the sound of war. Azerbaijani filmmaker Tofiq Rzayev has teamed up with co-director, Fidan Jafarova, a young paint/rugmaker/filmmaker/actor, who wrote the screenplay from Rzayev’s story. We begin to understand that a son is fighting in that war while his father is dying and mother and daughter are left to cope as best they can. Despite the dark theme and visuals, the film is beautiful to watch. The film asks how it is possible to deal with so much bleakness during wartime and gives us an emotive look at people who must do so. In just nine minutes, we are slapped across the face as we see the realities of war.

Seeing Feride at home with her sick father as war rages outside is heart-breaking. We see the mother risking and losing her life for her husband and understand that so much now depends upon the daughter.

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As you can imagine, this is quite a depressing film even with the viewer never seeing the war and only hearing it on the soundtrack. We become one with the protagonists as they struggle against terrible odds. This is a story about feelings and makes us realize just how lucky we are as we sit in the comfort of our homes.

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