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Behind the idyll lurks the landmines

Nothing To Be Afraid Of
Regissør: Silva Khnkanosian
(Armenia, Frankrike 2019)

Guns: Five female deminers attempt to remove landmines in Nagorno-Karabakh's beautiful landscape.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region of the South Caucasus is scenic with a lot of forest and mountains. But the idyll is deceptive: humanity's deadly battle for territories is imprinted into the earth in the form of unexploded landmines left behind after the 90s conflict.

When the Soviet Union disbanded, battles erupted in the area – old conflicts of identity and sovereignty were renewed. The ethnic Armenian majority wanted to unite in the Armenian Republic. When the request was rejected by Moscow, tensions escalated to war with Azerbaijan.

After the ceasefire, the territory is officially considered part of Azerbaijan, but most of it is governed by the Republic of Artsakh, an independent Armenian state.

Silva Khnkanosian's beautiful and low-key documentary offers no plethora of facts or partisan rhetoric. The dialogue is sparse, and the film visually depicts the dignified commitment that lies in the important but dangerous task – the mine clearance – which will make the country safe and habitable again.

A painstaking work

According to a census in 2018, over 73 mines have been neutralized so far. The dangerous work has hurt. . .

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