Home > News > 10/25(SAT) NABAT from Competition Press Conference
News Index back
[Event Reports]
10/25(SAT) NABAT from Competition Press Conference


©2014 TIFF

A Woman and a War – Nabat
Nabat, Elchin Musaoglu’s carefully paced, moving and beautifully photographed fable of an old woman facing loneliness and mortality in a war-torn place made its Japanese premiere on the Tokyo International Film Festival’s opening weekend. This powerful film is also up for an Academy Award as Azerbaijan’s Best Foreign Language Film entry.
Outside of a small village in northern Azerbaijan, Nabat lives with her sickly husband, Iskender and their cow. Their son has disappeared after going to join the army. She makes a meager living selling milk in the village. One day everyone in the village disappears. Her husband passes away. Nabat is now totally alone. The sounds of war rage around her every night. As do the howls of a lone she-wolf. She spends her hours exploring the abandoned houses, lighting kerosene lanterns, making her final peace with a world that’s turned upside down.
Nabat, as portrayed by Iranian star, Fatemeh Motamed Arva, shows a quiet, willful strength under her fragile exterior.
Fatemeh talked about her.
“Nabat’s role was beautiful and very strong. I really like strong women. I don’t like the women who are trying to show themselves to be strong, but I really like women who are truly strong inside. Nabat is strong because she’s able to feel and accept the sadness and the pain of people and nature and she’s still able to stand up after accepting that pain. And she’s not expecting anything for herself. She offers everything to everyone else, but it’s not based on give and take. She doesn’t expect any return.”
She added, “Playing this role was a big challenge for me. Because the location of the shoot was different. A different language was spoken. The age of the role and the situation that Nabat was facing was totally different from what I face. And if I have so many challenges, I would always accept playing that role.”
She also spoke about her life as an actress.
“I always imagined myself a tree and this tree has very deep roots in cinema. Therefore I think it’s meaningless to have a solid position within films because I’m not so focused or concerned about money or receiving a lot of recognition. Or I’m not too interested in different roles. Because I’ve been in about 53 films up to now and in those films I’ve played different roles. And it’s kind of like playing a different role every year. And so it’s almost like having 53 different characters inside me. I mentioned earlier that I think of myself as a tree. But when you think about how this tree feels, it probably feels like having different flowers blooming on each branch. And would offer all my experience to all those young directors and I would get young and new energy from those directors. And that’s one of the reasons I chose to work with Elchin.”
Director Elchin Musaoglu has had a long history making films, mainly documentaries in Azerbaijan. Nabat pulls images, ideas and its main story from real events and his own history. In one key scene of the film, the audience sees a picture of Che Guevara in the place where Nabat’s son should be. Nabat doesn’t have a photo of her son, so Che takes his place. The initial reaction is humorous, but it has a more bittersweet connotation.
As Elchin explained, “I’ve been around since the Soviet era. Che Guevara was our hero – regarding freedom and independence. In our house we kept a photograph of Che. My mother didn’t know who Che Guevara was. She actually thought that he was my friend. The main role of Nabat is that she’s a simple woman, a mother. But through her she reflects all mothers. Nabat also wishes that her son would look like Che Guevara. And there’s the empty space for the photo and she would like to fill this space with both Che Guevara and her son.”
A she-wolf plays an important role in Nabat – first as an object of fear and then as something more benign.
Elgin said, “The reason why Nabat saves the wolf is because of a simple ideology that mothers should protect everything. Mothers should not treat each other badly. And one more reason is that Nabat is not only saving the wolf, she’s saving the wolf is to save nature.”
In describing the specifics of his film and the larger theme, Elgin makes the point, “In showing images of war, I should think about my own country’s situation – the continuing conflict. It’s not just a movie about war. It’s a movie about the situation of mothers during war. It’s not just applicable to Azerbaijan. The most important wish of mothers is that their sons will grow up and live happily. And once there’s war a mother’s wish goes away.”

KINOSHITA GROUP Coca-Cola(Japan)Company, Limited Canon Inc. WOWOW INC. FIELDS CORPORATION Audi Japan kk Daiwa Securities Group Sony Corporation TASAKI & Co.,Ltd. Sony PCL Inc. Gurunavi, Inc. Culture Convenience Club Co.,Ltd. Shochiku Co.,Ltd TOHO Co.,Ltd. TOEI COMPANY, LTD. KADOKAWA CORPORATION NIKKATSU CORPORATION MORI BUILDING CO., LTD. TOHO CINEMAS LTD. CINEMA & STAGE CULTURE ASSOCIATION The Yomiuri Shimbun J-WAVE DWANGO Co.,Ltd. SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation THE WALL STREET JOURNAL TV Asahi LINE Corporation BS Nihon Eiga Senmon channel SEIKO HOLDINGS CORPORATION airweave inc. MHD Moët Hennessy Diageo K.K. CineGrid Getty Images, Inc. CLARA ONLINE, Inc.
KEIRIN.JPThe 27th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
26th Tokyo International Film Festival(2013)