Nothing To Be Afraid Of
The mountains and sloping woodlands of Nagorno-Karabakh make this landlocked region in the South Caucasus a place of undeniable natural beauty. But its idyllic surface is deceptive: the deadly territorialism of humans remains imbedded in its very soil, in the form of unexploded landmines left from conflict in the ‘90s. Fighting erupted in the enclave as the Soviet Union dissolved, and old disputes over identity and sovereignty were reignited. Its ethnic Armenian majority pushed to break away and unify with the Republic of Armenia. After their request was rejected by Moscow, the tensions escalated into war with Azerbaijan. Since the ceasefire, the disputed territory is officially recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but most of it is governed by the Republic of Artsakh, a de facto Armenian-majority independent state. Silva Khnkanosian’s beautifully understated and quietly potent documentary Nothing To Be Afraid Of relies not on a deluge of facts or partisan rhetoric. Sparse in dialogue, it rests instead on the dignity of calm commitment to a perilous but essential physical routine, as deminers work to reclaim the land to a safe condition, as it was before violence corrupted it.
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Excavating war in the South Caucasus
CONFLICT: 5 female de-miners look to clear the land of danger in the still disputed territory after the war in Nagorno-Karabakh