There are some scenes in Pouria Heidary Oureh’s Apricot Groves where Vartan explains (Pedram Ansari) Armenian traditions to his brother Aram (Narbe Vartan). One of these traditions include a groom having to beat up a man standing between him and his bride. Now that’s a movie I want to see. They can still keep the premise of this one but with period costumes. Although the one we get, with its modern suits, is equally excellent. Besides, Vartan gets those traditions wrong, as Aram’s future uncle-in-law (Araik Sargsyan) explains. He also disregards the correct traditions.
The music hints at the melancholy dynamic between its characters. Garegin Arakelyan’s score evoking the spirit of a father loving his children the way they are. It frames the characters as they face stakes equal to the ones in their imagined pasts. Aram is an Iranian Armenian American going to Yerevan to propose to the love of his life (Allison Gangi). Before we get to the nitty gritty of Oureh’s debut film I just want to comment on the settings. Oureh’s camera shows Yerevan and the road to Tehran. They are unlikely but refreshingly beautiful locations for an LGBTQ movie.
He and cinematographer Ashkan Ashkani captures the green and grit in Yerevan, just like its young characters want to be. There are many reasons why a film about Armenia’s two prodigal sons are in an LGBTQ film. We see Aram’s story because he’s a trans man. He faces obstacles into becoming his true self and making a chase for a woman to choose him. The film depicts him, a hand, then a face, the camera understanding the changes his body makes. Oureh is on Aram’s corner, helping him make his declaration as he steps into the city with his brother. That he is a man.