ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum

27th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum
Sermon to the Fish
Sermon to the Fish
Sermon to the Fish

Sermon to the Fish

director: Hilal Baydarov
original title: Balıqlara xütbə
country: Azerbaijan, Mexico, Switzerland, Türkiye
year: 2022
running time: 89 min.


A young man returns to an abandoned village surrounded by the vast plains and high mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh after several years in the army. Meanwhile, the village has become an empty stage set whose inhabitants have died of a mysterious disease, one that is slowly eating away at his sister, the sole survivor. Two siblings and an old dog are the only living beings in a dead landscape that is a metaphor for the impact of war on human life. A heavily atmospheric film made up of slow-moving, bleak scenes complemented by ambient, unsettling music as it attempts to answer the question of whether surviving is the same as living.

“The deserted village, shot impeccably by Baydarov himself and consisting of abandoned oil fields, ruins, and touches of unnatural beauty, such as a bent yellow tree nestled between the hills, is the perfect location for a group of characters who realise that once the war is won, nothing remains.”

Source: Review: Sermon to the Fish, Davide Abbatescianni. 12. 8. 2022, Cineuropa. Available at: https://cineuropa.org/en/newsdetail/428803/


Hilal Baydarov (* 1987) is an Azerbaijani representative of slow cinema. His original field of education is information technology. He studied film direction under Béla Tarr in Sarajevo. He has made four fiction and five documentary films. Birthday and One Day in Selimpasha have been screened at Ji.hlava IFDF 2018. His drama In Between Dying (2020) was nominated for the Golden Lion at Venice IFF.

more about film

director: Hilal Baydarov
producer: Hilal Baydarov, Elshan Abbasov, Carlos Reygadas
script: Hilal Baydarov
photography: Hilal Baydarov
editing: Hilal Baydarov
music: Kanan Rustamli
sound: António Porém Pires
sound design: Christian Giraud
co-producer: Daniel Wechsler, Jamal Zenial-Zade, Andreas Roald, Emil Najafov, Joaquín del Paso, M. Ziyad Varol, M. Zahid Sobacı, Cemil Yavuz, Faruk Güven, Emrah Kiliç
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