I thought this film was visually gorgeous, and it stands out in my mind as one of the most nuanced portrayals of current events in this region that I’ve ever seen. I also think these two facts have a good deal to do with one another.
Most of what I hear about this region, and understand about the people in it, is through news media. And no matter the specific outlets, the goals of ‘news’ and ‘art’ are usually quite divergent: news seeks to inform the mind, whereas art seeks to connect emotionally.
So, I greatly appreciated the chance to see a ‘current events’ work that felt as honest as this one did; one that let me see so much unadorned personhood, and, yes, one that didn’t shy away from the fact that it was produced by two filmmakers with their own ways of seeing the world they encountered.
Farima’s comment about the fidelity of the translation (and veracity of what the interviewees say) is important with respect to this last point: this film represents how the two filmmakers see the region, and not an underlying ‘objective truth.’ That said, understanding both emotional and hyperrational sides of any given issue is valuable, so I appreciated that the film’s “we’ll just live in these locations for a while, and record what happens, then edit it into a plot-less film” approach presented almost as organic of an examination of (some of) the human side(s) of this region as possible.