'The Simon's Way' ...this short movie is so good and intense, we will try a different approach than we are used to do. Imagine being born in Eastern Europe, being at your grandma’s house in a hammock with roosters and ducks making unbearable noise, the mellow wind ravishing the spring cherry flowers whilst your neighbor is listening to Goran Bregovic’s Kalashnikov whilst roasting some kebabs on the grill. Also, being in your hammock, you are reading Emir Kusturica’s Étranger dans le mariage. This is only ten percent of the mood Edgar Baghdasaryan is illustrating in this phenomenon called 'The Simon's Way'.
From a literary point of view, the story is a gold mine: from 1993 the border between Armenia and Turkey is closed; some of the families were split because of this and their only means of communication is with binoculars and written messages on cardboard. The distance between the two villages is less than half of a kilometer, so close yet so far. Our protagonist, Simon, has to go from his house in Armenia all the way to Turkey to see one of his relatives on his death bed, but his only option is to take an 11.000 kilometers detour only to reach his other side of the family.
The story is very similar to the German Berlin wall separation or the Cyprus conflict from the 20th century, where families were split because of the political regime.
We really loved the screenplay and the acting – it is some time since we’ve seen powerful emotions expressed with such ease. It is hard for someone who didn’t have the chance to see 'The Simon's Way' to imagine how cool and straightforward this short is. We loved the score for being a brilliant mood booster, and also the dialogue for being natural and insightful. In terms of symbolic elements, this short can be the perfect material for a dissertation on social behavior and on the transition of folklore from tradition to post modernity. The rituals, the folk songs, the dinner rituals, all of them are indexed in a movie that tries to present a short dramatic story, but does way more than expected.
Written by Vlad A. G