LOS ANGELES, United States (K24)--Vodka Lemon, directed by the Kurdish filmmaker Hiner Saleem was screened in the Hammer Museum of the University of California, Los Angeles on Thursday.
The event was part of a series of events dedicated to exploring Armenian culture and history in the “I am Armenian” series held in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
Vodka Lemon is set in a cold Yezidi Kurdish village in Post-Soviet Armenia. Hamo and Nina are poor widows who meet in a snowy village and in the middle of many hardships they are experiencing. Nonetheless, they find some comfort in each other’s company.
After the screening, Professor Amir Sharifi, a US-based Kurd from Sina (Sanandaj) spoke about the film, the plight of the Yezidis and the affinity between the persecuted minorities.
“I think it was a good movie because despite the infinite difficulties that the characters face, love and music softens and beautifies their lives. It also shows how nations that have suffered from war and destruction, extend such solidarity and understanding towards one another,” Dr. Sharifi told K24.
Referring to Screamers, a documentary made by Dr. Carla Garapedian who also organized the post-screening Q&A, Dr. Sharifi said, “The question is why we are doomed to repeat history. Why do we face the recurrent tragedies?”
Dr. Sharifi pointed out that even though there is more reporting on tragedies now than it was decades ago, the compassion for victims has not increaased and preventative measures are not taken.
“Now we have these things (television and internet), I am wondering if anything has significantly changed. Are we saving them (the Yezidis)? Are they redeemable? They are in a very precarious condition. Unless some really decisive steps are taken. And I don’t really see that in the making,” said Dr. Sharifi.
He answered many questions from the approximately 200 attendees who eagerly listened and discussed the current situation of the Yezidis, recent terrorist attacks, and refugee questions.
The “I Am Armenian” series will continue to the end of 2015.