Filmmaker: Lala Aliyeva

In the garden of moons


When death that holds prestige enters their houses, the widows of fallen soldiers find different ways to (re)build their lives. 

To keep the memory of her late husband alive, Gulay has turned the bedroom into a museum. 

To search for her late husband, Aybeniz goes to the mountains.

The wars and the bloody collapse of the Soviets forged a new concept, a martyr, which became the name for all fallen soldiers. In a society where having a martyr husband has been a symbol of national pride, another identity also emerged - the wife of a martyr. 

This film is about two women who lost their husbands in the two Nagorno Karabakh wars: one has been missing in a battle for 30 years, and the other died during the 44-day war in 2020. 

The visual journey recounts the experience of a martyr's wife. Her status as a soldier’s widow commands respect in society and comes with specific unwritten rules.

Through their conversations and the physical spaces they occupy, these women share their experiences about how they have coped with the loss of their husbands and what death brought into their lives apart from the grief. 

They discuss their memories, difficulties, and the changes in their lives. They also discuss how this loss led them to certain realizations about themselves. 

The film serves as a moving tribute to their resilience and the enduring power of love, even to defy tragedy.

This film was prepared with support from the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) South Caucasus Regional Office. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of FES.