Much has happened in Armenia -- and much of it troubling -- since the documentary I Am Not Alone was filmed during the 2018 revolution and subsequently premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. But System of a Down's Serj Tankian is confident that Garin Hovannisian film's triumphal tone holds up as it opens wide on Sept. 17 via Virtual Cinema.
I Am Not Alone chronicles the independence movement led by politician, activist and journalist Nikol Pashinyan, who fought against a third-term election of president Serzh Sargsyan that would have given Sargsyan unlimited and dictatorial powers in the country. Pashinyan set out on a 14-day march, accompanied by supporters (and a stray dog), to the capital of Yerevan, where he was briefly imprisoned. After nearly a month of protests, Sargsyan resigned peacefully, and two weeks later Pashinyan was elected prime minister. "It really depends on the viewer," Tankian -- who co-executive produced and scored the film -- says about watching it now. "An international viewer not privy to domestic Armenian politics will see the film exactly as it should be when it was shot, and the lessons that were learned from it. Most people will experience for what it is, which is an incredible piece of documentarian footage of a very unique, peaceful revolution on the other side of the world."
Subsequently, however, Armenia has been rocked by more conflict, including war with and continuing hostilities with neighboring Azerbaijan. Unfortunately eclipsed by the global coronavirus pandemic and other issues, it places I Am Not Alone in a somewhat different context for the enlightened.