Blu-Ray Review: The Lighthouse

railway tracks in the fog

There’s nothing little Englanders like more than to reference ‘the war’. Indeed, this has always been the case and martial language has seeped into many aspects of our daily lives. Used by populist politicians as a dog whistle to imbue people with a sense of nationalistic pride. Conflict is often glamorised on our screens, although its futility plays an increasingly important role. It’s still relatively rare to focus on the survivors. Those civilians whose lives are touched by battle but have no stake in it. The Lighthouse does just that.

Lena (Anna Kapaleva) returns from Russia to the rural Armenian village where she grew up. War follows hot on her heels and she finds herself in the middle of a warzone. Desperately the young woman tries to persuade her grandmother (Olga Yakovleva) and grandfather (Sos Sargsyan) to leave with her, but they’re determined to stay. Before she knows it, Lena is trapped with the fighting drawing in.

The Lighthouse is a moving drama which focuses on the civilians whose lives are decimated by war. Mariya Saakyan’s semi-autobiographical tale is layered in remoteness. The cinematography of Maksim Drozdov conjures up an atmosphere of mystery and fear. Enhanced by Kimmo Pohjonen’s haunting soundtrack. The Lighthouse is a poetic and lyrical tale which charts Lena’s journey of self-discovery to a tumultuous backdrop.  

Special features:

• Maria Saakyan’s short film Farewell (Proshchanie).

• Presented in a new digital transfer with restored picture and sound, approved by the director.

• Booklet featuring a new interview with the director and new essays by author/poet Sophie Mayer and film historian Vigen Galstyan.

• New and improved English subtitle translation.

• Anamorphic 16:9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

• Available for the first time on DVD in the English-speaking world.

The Lighthouse is released on Blu-ray by Second Run on 20 September.

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