VODKA LEMON | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

In a snowy mountain village in tiny post-Soviet Armenia, there's little to do but sit around, drink and, if you're a phlegmatic Kurdish pensioner named Hamo (Romen Avinian), take a bus to the cemetery to mourn your wife. For variety, you can sell off your last few possessions and wait for your son who's emigrated to France to start sending money instead of asking for it. An unbiased observer might cry, but Iraqi-born writer-director Hiner Saleen would rather you laugh. With striking visuals, unexpected comic rhythms and a gentle but sly sense of humor, Saleen shows us life-sized characters pressing ahead with some measure of grace even as they're stripped of their jobs, belongings and dignity. And in Hamo's near-wordless courtship of a fellow cemetery habitué named Nina, Saleen finds sufficient reason for hope in a world whose myriad absurdities its denizens barely have time to grasp.  In Armenian, Russian and Kurdish, with subtitles. Harris

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