Quick Thoughts: Nabat (2014)
Directed by Elchin Musaoglu, this is our Azerbaijani film of the series.
Nabat is cinema at its highest quality. With astounding camera work and a minimalist aesthetic that is wholly imbued with awe-inspiring beauty by the mountainous locale, this narrative is utterly immersive, leaving you lost in the sombre and melancholic atmosphere as a realist story of struggle slowly unfolds itself. The formal approach is in fact very reminiscent of Tarkovsky’s poetic realism in films such as Mirror. Whilst the structure and design of this narrative is entirely different to that of Mirror, the concentrated cinematic language textures this film with a tone that is strikingly Tarkovsky-esque thanks to the use of location, weather and organic material as well as the perfectly retrained and measured edit. This contributes to the immense emotional investment that this story evokes as it follows an elderly woman who lives in a small home with her ill husband nearby an isolated town.
As we watch her days pass by, we grow to know her routine of milking her cow as to sell milk and earn a meagre amount of money so that she may eat as well as feed her husband. And it’s experiencing this mundane everyday that we’re allowed to step into the shoes of Nabat, our main character, and begin to impress upon this narrative a sense of understanding – one that builds upon themes of old age, isolation and lonesomeness. This narrative and formal strategy of Nabat is what makes it so poignant; this film serves as a powerful medium through which we are transported into an empathetic exploration of this woman’s life. And so, the moving emotional conclusion I took from this narrative was centred on the idea of both perseverance and preservation. In such, I couldn’t help but consider the crushing futility of Nabat’s life. She has lost her son, soon loses her husband and later is left on the fringes of an evacuated town due to the moving front-lines of a war. Nonetheless, Nabat continues with routine and so simulates a life in which there is a tangible sense of purpose about her.
With poetic sub-plots concerning a wolf, this narrative then evokes a confounding emotional concept of prolonging a futile wait for cessation; death. And there’s very little that can be said about this thematic crux as it seems to expose a truthful depiction of life that is inarticulately effecting, leaving this movie one that simply needs to be experienced.
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