Nora Martirosyan: Making an Unknown Story Universal
Cannes-selected filmmaker brings Artsakh to the world screen
October 9, 2020 | by Creative Armenia
Invisible to maps and ignored by the international community, Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) has nonetheless always been rich in its culture. Nora Martirosyan's subtle drama Should the Wind Drop, which is set in these unrecognized lands, was selected for the 73rd Cannes Film Festival and will soon be available to stream for US audiences as part of AFI Fest 2020. We got in touch with Nora Martirosyan as she shared her thoughts on the importance of raising awareness about Nagorno Karabakh through human stories.
CA: Your feature film Should The Wind Drop (2020) took the world by storm, being selected for the 73rd Cannes Film Festival. Tell us more about the film.
NM: We are very honored by this selection. I wanted to create a film that would make a local and unknown story universal, and Cannes selection allowed us to communicate the film to wider audiences.
CA: The events of the film take place in the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh and revolve around the people of Nagorno Karabakh. What inspired you to tell their story?
NM: When I first went to Nagorno Karabakh in 2009 I was astonished by the absurdity of the situation. An entire country that existed and functioned through its schools, roads, fields, infrastructures had no juridical status. The world maps did not correspond to the reality I was witnessing. I thought that by making a feature film about it I could uplift this complicated political question to a more philosophical and existential level.
CA: This is your first full-length feature film on which you have worked for many years. Why this story? What were the challenges and inspirations along the production?
NM: We indeed went a long way. I needed to weave a story that would translate the very essence of this amazing place. A story that would not betray its inhabitants and would allow the world to see their hopes and worries. At the same time, I also wanted the film to speak to an unintended public that is ignorant about the existence of this place and its conflict.
I used the opening of the new airport in Nagorno Karabakh as a metaphor for the hope of international recognition. All actions in Should the Wind Drop take place in the nearby airport which has been ready to function for many years but has not received or sent out any planes because of the political situation.
CA: Originally you have a visual arts background. How did the transition from visual arts to cinema take place? And how did your background distract and strengthen your vision for this film?
NM: I was trained as a painter in Armenia and shifted to contemporary art when I moved to Europe. It made more sense for me to tell the story of Should the Wind Drop through film. But I still consider that the elements of film are the same as for visual arts – image, sound, music, and a story. When used together they create strong emotions and through emotions make you question.
CA: As a film director and storyteller, what do you think the role of an artist should be in the current war situation?
NM: The film I made is set in the post-war, peaceful Nagorno Karabakh. It shows people who work on their lands, build schools, roads, and an airport. It is terrifying that military aggressions today attempt to erase almost 30 years of peace and everything that it created. I hope through the film people will see Nagorno Karabakh as I saw it before the war broke out.
CA. What is your message to the international community, to the artists across the art fields, in regards to the current war between Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Azerbaijan?
NM: I would call the international community to open their eyes, to stop ignoring the tragedy we are witnessing and to help the people of Nagorno Karabakh to live and create on their land in peace!