Rebellions start with a simple and often quiet act of defiance…
Kicking off the Human Rights Watch Festival down at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema tonight here in Toronto; I Am Not Alone is a poignant doc about the power of the masses in the face of an oppressive regime, and even though it occasionally leans into some overly cinematic moments it still packs quite a punch.
On Easter 2018, a man puts on a backpack and begins to walk across Armenia. His mission: to inspire a velvet revolution – and topple the corrupt regime that enjoys absolute power in his post-soviet nation. With total access to all key players, I Am Not Alone tells the miraculous story of what happens in the next 40 days.
Writer/Director Garin Hovannisian crafts a slick affair that actually works for and against him in many ways.
The film looks quite good and has a genuine flow to it with a well structured narrative that keeps us bouncing between the facts of the politics and the issues on the street as we follow our protagonist on his quest to generate some real political and social change for his country. It never once feels preachy and takes care to get us invested in these people as we see everything unfold.
On the flip side though, while the very nature of filmmaking and storytelling is to manipulate its audiences, Hovannisian doesn’t use a light touch but rather a large hammer to ultimately get his message across. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s just really obvious.
Ultimately, I Am Not Alone certainly does a lot more right than it does wrong and it serves as a salient reminder of what people are capable of when fighting for the freedom and democracy that is their right.