Mikhail is 80 years old, he has never been married, he has no children and he lives in a small appartment full of clothes in bags and whatever he has collected, making it impossible for him to move around. He has to crawl to reach his bed and his kitchen table has ”been emprisoned since the 1990’es”. He is, however, part of the dancing and singing choir ”The Chosen Ones”, where he performs with full energy together with Aida (74), Hovsep (74), Mariam (58), Martik (61) and several others. They perform together on stage, on television, even in the streets. And it helps them to stay alive.
Mikhail is the one in the middle with his appartment liberation story as the red thread. The film paints a warm and generous portrait of this lovely old man, who is still very much connected to his mother, shown in some poetic moments where he, partly hidden by a mountain of bags, sings to her and visits her grave.
Aida considers the choir as a family, hairy Hovsep would so much want to have a woman by his side (at the end it is suggested that the two of them could get together…) and the atmosphere is constantly full of joy when they practice their ”One Two Three”. But of course there is the other side of the coin – getting old means getting defects and the film does not hide that as it does not hide the sadness of Anahit, who has lost 8 children (!) or the true tristesse of Mariam, afraid of the opposite sex, but at the next moment she is a smiling dancing queen to an old Elvis Presley song.
It’s been a difficult film to make with so many characters, I have seen several cuts, but with this final version the wonderful people of Bars Media (Yulia, Inna, Vardan… and director Arman) has found a balanced narrative solution that works with ”the freedom struggle” of Mikhail in the foreground of an extraordinary warm ”message” film to all of us: Sing and Dance! Will do my best, writes this 67 year old blogger!
Armenia, 2015, 75 mins.