Discovering Azerbaijan in Cannes: Torn

While I anxiously await watching another gem from Azerbaijan in Venice, Nabat by talented director Elchin Musaoglu, I wanted to revisit this short film, Torn, that with its simplicity of message and minimalism of words and look, really stayed with me. Following the excerpt of the article, for the full interview with the filmmakers, check out The Huffington Post.

While a cacophony of media and breaking news buzz around us in our daily lives, I personally need the human touch to help me understand a country or a situation. And for that human touch I turn to art, music or even better, cinema to get me to the heart of the matter.

In Cannes this year, the country of Azerbaijan seemed to leap out at me from every corner. It was inescapable. There were friendly conversations incorporating quotes from Laila and Majnun, the famous poem about the Romeo and Juliet of the East, by Nizami Ganjavi, considered a Persian poet but who is of course, by birth, Azerbaijani.

During the festival it was also announced that my favorite future Arab superstar, mark my words on the super, Adam Bakri had been cast in the Asif Kapadia helmed movie version of the novel Ali and Nino, about a romance between a Muslim Azerbaijani boy and Christian Georgian girl in Baku, at the onset of the WWI. To be filmed in Baku, Azerbaijan, of course, and produced by Leyla Aliyeva, all around cool girl and daughter of Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev. There was also mention of a film festival starting in the country, at the buzzed about Azerbaijan pavilion.

And then, Torn. A beautiful, touching short film, filled with heart and soul, which also happened to be the first film from Azerbaijan at the Festival de Cannes, screening in the Directors’ Fortnight…

Check out the entire piece on The Huffington Post.

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