Apricot Groves

Director: Pouria Heidary Oureh
2016 | Armenia | 80m
GENRE: Asian/Pacific Islander | Drama | Female-to-Male | Immigration/Exile | Middle Eastern | Muslim/Islam | Relationships | Religion/Spirituality | Transgender
SECTION: World Cinema

Trailer

Older brother Vartan waits anxiously at the airport for his younger transmasculine brother, Aram, who is arriving from the United States where he has lived all his life. Aram has come to Armenia for just one day, to propose marriage to an Armenian girl he met in America. The handsome Armenian-Iranian brothers must shoulder all the details for the traditional ritual — the suits, the flowers, the cognac, the sweets — themselves, since their father is dead. The girl’s father is unenthusiastic, even suspicious, as he grips Aram’s hand in a testing handshake, one of many moments of awkward tension at the meeting. But, haunted by a past regret, he eventually approves of Aram and his daughter’s marriage. Still, the betrothed couple whispers cryptic farewells under her father’s gaze.

There are more stops and rituals for the brothers to consummate as they hit the road between Armenia and Iran, and the film skillfully layers subtle hints among their words, looks, and deeds. Whether the ending is a wonderful surprise depends on what you know and learn about these two countries, until now unlikely settings for a beautiful LGBTQ-inflected story about family, faith, brotherhood, and love. This debut feature was written and directed by Tehran-based Pouria Heidary Oureh, and reflects the endurance and complications of consummation amidst a plethora of conservative religious expectations.

— FRAKO LODEN

CO-PRESENTED BY
Q-Hye: San Francisco Bay Area Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Armenian

  • Website: Facebook
  • Language: In Armenian and Persian with English subtitles
  • Premiere Status: Bay Area