Nora Martirosyan’s film “Should the Wind Drop” (Si le vent tombe, 2020) will be representing Armenia at the 2022 Oscars in the Best International Feature Film category.
“Should the Wind Drop” is a Franco-Belgian-Armenian co-production under the aegis of the Council of Europe, has been officially selected in Cannes (First Armenian film to be selected in Cannes Official Selection since 1965) as well as the ACID, has won several awards from international festivals and will soon be presented at the Césars in France and at the Golden Globes (César 2022 Film submission for Best First Film). It was also recently shown as part of the French Embassy’s Young French Cinema festival.
Starring Grégoire Colin and Hayk Bakhryan, the film is centered on Alain (Colin), an international auditor, who arrives to assess the airport of a small, self-proclaimed republic (Nagorno-Karabakh) in the Caucasus to green-light its eventual reopening. He will discover this isolated territory and risk everything to help it open up to the outside world.
Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian province given to Azerbaijan in 1921 by Stalin, claimed independence when the USSR collapsed in 1991, following a referendum. This decision was unacceptable to the Azerbaijani authorities, who went to war with this new country. After three years of war (1991 to 1994), the toll was more than 30,000 dead. On the strength of its victory, Nagorno-Karabakh then proclaimed itself an independent republic.
In 1992, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe set up the Minsk Group, co-chaired by Russia, France, and the United States, to establish peace. Under its pressure, a ceasefire was signed in May 1994 by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Nagorno-Karabakh. This peace was in name only, because since then, this territory has been the scene of a dead-end conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. A covert and clandestine war, which fuels endless hatred between the two populations.
In September 2020, Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey, launched a blitzkrieg in Nagorno-Karabakh, which resulted in thousands of deaths. The entire male population of Karabagh participated in the military actions to protect their self-proclaimed country. After six weeks of fighting, the Armenians living in this enclave suffered a defeat and the loss of a large part of their territory, in particular the buffer zone with Armenia, conquered in the 1990s.
The film was shot in the Republic of Artsakh in 2018, in peacetime, long before the 44-day war, and constitutes today a true archive of this ruined country. In a large part of the areas where “Should the Wind Drop” was filmed, the Armenian inhabitants no longer have access to their houses, gardens, and cemeteries. The film has become an archive of 26 years of ceasefire, an undeniable proof of the existence of a country that dreamed of recognition, but which, ignored by the international community, has been deprived of its territories and its hope.
Artist and filmmaker, director Nora Martirosyan studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in her native Armenia, before graduating from the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam and Le Fresnoy in Northern France. She currently divides her life between teaching art and video and directing films, which have received numerous awards in international film festivals. Her first feature film, “Should the Wind Drop” was a project dear to her heart and was supported by the Cinéfondation workshop at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as the Villa Médicis and Eurimages. “Sould the Wind Drop” was the first Armenian film selected for the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival since 1965.
Film editor Yorgos Lamprinos is a Greek-born editor, living and working in Paris since 1999. Yorgos was nominated as Best Editor for the film “The Father” at the Oscars in 2021. Prior to this, he started as an assistant editor on films produced by Michèle Ray-Gavras: “Le Couperet” and “Eden À L’ouest” by Costa Gavras, “La Faute À Fidel” by Julie Gavras, “Mon Colonel” by Laurent Herbiet. Then he worked as a chief editor on feature films, documentaries, TV series, commercials, and music videos with directors as diverse as Xavier Legrand, Florian Zeller, Rachida Brakni, Mehdi Charef, to name a few.
Grégoire Colin is a French actor and director, born in 1975 and living in Paris. His breakthrough performance in “Oliver, Oliver” by Agnieszka Holland earned him a nomination for the César of Meilleur Espoir Masculin in 1993. Grégoire was also awarded at Locarno with the Best Actor award in 1996 for his role in “Nenette And Boni” by Claire Denis. This film was the beginning of a long collaboration between him and Claire Denis on several of her films (“Les Salauds,” “35 Rhums,” “L’intrus…”). In the last years, he has also worked with directors such as Mathieu Amalric, Arielle Dombasle, and Naomi Kawase. In TV, he recently performed one of the leading roles in Arte Nicolas Saada series “Thanksgiving” and in the Netflix series “Lupin.”
Ani Vorskanyan is one of the most prominent producers in Armenia. Her film “Songs of Solomon” has represented Armenia for Best International Feature Film for the Oscars 2021. Ani was born in Yerevan, Armenia. She moved to Moscow, Russia in 1996, and lived there until 2012. In 2001, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law in Moscow. In 2005, she graduated with an MBA in Finance in Nicosia, Cyprus (on the basis of Maastricht School of Management, the Netherlands). She was working in Moscow in movie/entertainment industry and in publishing/media businesses when in 2012, she moved to her home country, Armenia. In 2014, she established the film production company “anEva production” LLC.
Having worked for Orange in New York and Paris for 10 years and for several world alter globalist social forums, Julie Paratian created SISTER Productions (an anagram of RESIST) with emphasis on an international, feminist and militant approach. Based in the New Aquitaine region (Bordeaux), SISTER has a rich experience in international coproductions. SISTER Productions has produced around thirty documentaries and fiction films noticed in major festivals: from debut films to later works with experienced directors, TV or cinematic pieces as well as art films, all of SISTER’s works take strong political stances and explore unique cinematic expressions. Active in the world of documentary cinema, Julie Paratian is a member of the EURODOC and ACE networks, and former president of the Cinéma du Réel festival in Beaubourg.
With more than 15 years of experience in film production in various Belgian companies, Annabella Nezri founded her own production company Kwassa Films in 2014. Kwassa Films aims to promote innovative, creative and accessible projects to a wide audience. Nezri is a member of the Producers on the Move, ACE and EAVE network and she is the vice-president of the UPFF (French Speaking Producer Union).
Armenian Actors featured in “Should the Wind Drop” include: Arman Navasardyan as “Seirane”; Hayk Bakhryan as “Edgar”; Vardan Petrosyan as “Armen”; David Hakobyan as “Korune”; Narine Grigoryan as “Karine.
“Should the Wind Drop” will be featured at the University of Southern California’s Institute of Armenian Studies’ USSR 30: Cinema After the Collapse film festival. The screening will take place on November 5, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at USC’s Norris Cinema Theatre. Admission to the festival is free.