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Vodka Lemon (2003)

Lala Sarkissian , Romen Avinian , Hiner Saleem  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Price: $29.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Lala Sarkissian, Romen Avinian
  • Directors: Hiner Saleem
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Russian (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker
  • DVD Release Date: December 20, 2005
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BQ5IWI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,168 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Vodka Lemon" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Foreign trailer
  • Case Booklet featuring Interview with Director

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(8)
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Storytelling and Great Cinematography, November 15, 2006
Format:DVD
In the shivering cold climate of Northern Armenia is a small Kurdish village whose economy is negatively impacted by the break up of the Soviet Union. In this film, the viewer vicariousluy experiences village life in this remote part of the world. The film reveals how human beings overcome adversity and create meaningful lives. The film is a testament to the Kurds and Armenian people whose spirit and love of life is shown in its best light, even in this harsh climate and despite serious economic disadvantages. The characters are phenomenal. Hamo is a grandfather-like wirey muscular man with white hair. He often visits his deceased wife at the cemetery. It is noted that people often carry folded stools which they use at the bus stop (if there is no bench) or to sit on at the graveside. It is a customary in the region to speak to the dead as if they are still among us. Hamo tells her their son Kamo lives in Alfortville, France and is doing well (not entirely true, as he has no job yet). Weekly when he takes the bus to the cemetery, he sees the beautiful widow, Nina, who makes the same trip to the same place. She visits her deceased husband. Hamo notices she does not pay the busfare and the bus driver gives her credit until she can afford to pay. The bus driver plays a romantic French cassette almost each time as the two lone passengers ride to their destination ...

Hamo receives a short letter from his son who sends a photo of himself and his new French girlfriend. Hamo had expected him to send money. Money is in short supply. The Soviet Union had provided gas, electricity and other necessities to the village free or at nominal cost but now the villagers must fully pay for these commodities. There is no industry.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It is very simple, and delightful August 21, 2006
Format:DVD
When one views a film like this, one realizes that Hollywood produces pure crap, pardon the expression. So much money is spent on actors and special effects, etc., that little if any attention is given to the simple art of movie-making.

This movie, filmed in a remote, isolated village in post-Soviet Armenia, is about families and death and love, and the beauty and simplicity of life. For those who are purists and love films, this one should be added to your library. It is very simple, and delightful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reclaiming human dignity December 12, 2007
By Reader
Format:DVD
For anyone who loves foreign movies, this one cannot be missed. Made by Iraqi Kurd director, this film pictures life in one of the former Soviet Republics. Mix of Russian, Armenian and French language gives another dimension to this wonderfully thought out film. We see day to day life in the small village in Armenia where people try their best just to stay alive. Most of them are unemployed and the only way to get any money is to sell off a little bit of life possessions that they have. We see two people, an older widower, who overcomes his misery of daily existance by visiting regularly his wife's grave. A beautiful widow does the same and on their trips to the cemetary, they get to know each other on the local bus. Without giving away much about the plot, this film gives a picture of life in one of the remote places where there is no hope left. Men are unemployed, women are treated as a property of their husbands and there is no sight of any improvement. How can a person retain their dignity in that kind of society? This film will show you at elast how they try to do that. I hope to see more movies from this young, talented director in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A horseman runs through it . . . July 18, 2009
Format:DVD
Kurdish director Hiner Saleem sets this bleakly humorous story in an Armenian village in the depths of winter. It's a vision of post-Soviet life, where unemployment is widespread, money is scarce, and vodka is plentiful. In a cockeyed world where quirky is the norm, a musician is towed to a funeral in a bed (see DVD cover), people sit on chairs in snowdrifts to have conversations, the lemon vodka of the title actually tastes like almonds (because it's Armenia, someone explains), at unexpected moments a man on a horse races by, and a piano turns out to be self-propelled. Meanwhile, a widower and a widow begin a tentative relationship. A daughter is given in marriage to a man who is not what he seems. A bus driver sings along with his radio.

In Saleem's world, there is no exit and few prospects. Devotion to the dead provides what seems to be the only connection to what may have been a more prosperous past; the rooms of houses empty as belongings and furniture are literally carried off to be sold in town for a few dollars. A young woman turns to prostitution. A son who has somehow escaped and is living in Paris is no better off. There are finally only small but life-affirming moments of camaraderie, generosity, celebration, and the warmth of the occasional shot of vodka.

I enjoyed this film for its portrayal of humor in the midst of hopelessness. A spring thaw begins to set in at the end - and, who knows, maybe things won't get worse.
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