Hot Docs 2022: Our Review of ‘5 Dreamers and a Horse’

Hot Docs 2022: Our Review of ‘5 Dreamers and a Horse’

Humans maintain the relationships they have already while using those to forge new ones, but sometimes the latter is difficult. Karen is a man living in rural Armenia,. He asks advice on how to get wife from an older relative. At 64 years of age, Melania is an elevator operator, using the downtime in her 24 hour shift to watch videos about cosmonauts and outer space. Two young women, Amasia and Sona, hang out in a rooftop. They play a flirtatious version of cold and hot with the implication that they can’t do that in a more public place.

Vahagn Khachatryan and Aren Malakyan bring those stories in 5 Dreamers and a Horse. They let their viewer look at the kind of subjects whose lives may or may not change. The first half does make some of us ask where this is going? Are Amasia and Sona finally getting off of the rooftop, or is Melania every leaving that elevator? But there’s something about observational documentaries like this that make us notice the most minute changes. Like when Melania is staring at a wall instead of her phone. Or whether Karen is driving alone or with that familial elder.

The film then divides its two acts with a white screen, the second act changing some colours on the screen like blues to pinks. A horse, which was riding on a snowy field, is now riding on pink grass fields. I don’t necessarily know what these visual flairs mean but I appreciate the dreamlike additions to observations that toe the line between interesting and mundane. And it finds the magical within that mundane. Whether it’s Karen finally finding someone, or Melania finding the courage to be an astronaut, or Amasia and Sona finding their community. All of this means something.

Watch 5 Dreamers and a Horse on Hot Docs.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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