“APRICOT GROVES”— What Lies Ahead

“Apricot Groves”

What Lies Ahead

Amos Lassen

Aram is an the Iranian Armenian youth who has immigrated to the US in childhood but now returns to Armenia for the first time to propose to an Armenian girlfriend that he met and lived with in the US. He sees many cultural, religious, and national differences on the one-day trip, but little does he know that harder obstacles are ahead.

This is Iranian/Armenian writer/director Pouria Heidary Oureh’s first feature film and it is set in his two home countries of Armenia and Iran and this is rare for any LGBTQ movie.  The story is filled with beauty and it is rendered with compassion and understanding. When the main idea of the story is revealed, we are deeply moved by the journey that Aram’s (Narbe Vartan) journey.

Aram has flown from L.A. where he has been living since his father died,  and is met at Zvarnots Airport  by his older brother Arman (Hovhannes Azoyan) who has never left Armenia.  Aram is going to be staying for just one day. The reason for his trip is to formally propose to an Armenian female that he met while she was visiting America. The local custom is that the prospective groom must be accompanied by his own family members with gifts when he goes to his potential father-in-law to ask for her hand. Aram acts accordingly.

Preparing for the visit takes up the morning with the tailor, picking up gifts and flowers, cognac and cookies. When Aram finally arrives, the father of the perspective bride comes across as cold but he warms up and grants permission for the marriage.

 

The second part of the day includes a long drive to the Iranian border for a hinted-at reason but which I cannot share because it would ruin the viewing experience. This is a film that demands its audience to be patient. Oureh cleverly lets the story unfold and the surprise that comes is just that, a surprise. However, there is a sad aspect to the film in that because of the American government’s ban on Muslims coming into the country, we will not be able to meet Oureh at any of the screenings as it plays on the festival circuit.

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