Abysm

Writer, Development Producer

90″ Feature Film, in development

An abrupt and unexplained tragedy has struck a small family. A mother and daughter have lost their brother and son. He died while serving in the army, in the remote borderlands between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We watch the remains of the family for the 40 days of mourning following the death.

The soldier’s twin sister feels the death as a combination of the deep loss of a piece of her own body, but also with the numbness of a listless teenager. As her mother breaks down completely in the wake of the death, she must take care of her. Suddenly her own dreams of going abroad and becoming a writer seem frivolous, even selfish. Still, in the wake of her brother’s death, she continues to write, hoping that she can find some way to express herself and her feeling of loss.

The film begins with scenes from a traditional Armenian Orthodox funeral: Covered furniture, clocks stopped at the time of the son and brother’s death, a coffin in the living room, the rhythmic shuffle of visitors in and out; and ends with a Eulogy delivered by the twin who still remains, the only one left to tell the story. In between, the young girl is living in two worlds. The concrete reality of life in Yerevan during the last stretch of the long winter months, and a dream-like world, staged in the stateless territory of Nagorno-Karabagh where her brother died.

In these 40 days, this mother and daughter try to find and heal the empty space left by their son and brother. Mourning is a period when miscommunication abounds, pain and pleasure are heightened, and expression can only take place through moments of pure silence or allegory. In a small apartment in a small city, they search for things to fill the emptiness – love, religion, family, friends, passions, and creation. Their own emotions are set against the backdrop of a country riddled with its own empty spaces and unanswered questions.

Funding received

  • Winner, Locarno Film Festival Open Doors Grant
  • George Foundation Grant recipient