A bittersweet concoction with a kick

"Vodka Lemon is the only thing the Russia’s have left them is the one thing they didn’t have before-their freedom," explains one of the characters in the film Vodka Lemon–by Iraqi Kurd director Hiner Saleem.

The third feature by the exiled director portrays an abandoned community that’s magically upbeat. With its blinding-white vistas–graceful Armenian score–the film celebrates its quirky characters while it mourns their plight. "A blessed wonder?Saleem displays the visual confidence and subtle screwball rhythms of a master," writes the Village Voice.


In the snowy badlands of post soviet Armenia–village life is nearing subsistence level. The Russia’s have long departed–and almost all of the village’s young men have gone abroad for work. In the heart of sixty-something-year-old Hamo–a handsome widower–hope rests through his youngest son–who has recently immigrated to France in search of work. Hamo’s sole possessions on earth are barely enough to sustain him. But Hamo finds contentment through his daily bus trips to the local cemetery where his wife has been laid to rest. During one of these visits Hamo notices Nina–a beautiful fifty-year old widow. Although an initial attraction between the two is clear–Hamo’s loyalty to his dead wife and Nina’s shyness forestalls the two from allowing the sparks to fly. Nina retreats to her job at the desolate village bar–Vodka Lemon–and Hamo hustles home with hope waning that his son in Paris has mailed him. Retreating back to the cemetery–Hamo once again runs into Nina–and with a few kind gestures–the two begin a September-December romance that leads to the film’s indelible conclusion of love among the ruins.

The winner of the San Marco prize at the Venice Film Festival–Vodka Lemon’s exclusive Los Angeles engagemen’s begin at Laemmle’s Fairfax Cinemas in the Fairfax District and One Colorado Cinemas in Old Town Pasadena on Friday–November 19.

The Fairfax is located at 7095 Beverly Boulevard in the Fairfax District and the One Colorado in Old Town Pasadena.

Call 310-274-6869 or 626-744-1224 for show-time information. See


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