An impassioned, unsentimental debut feature by Maria Saakyan—whose life was cut tragically short in 2018—Mayak is a war film that breaks out of the genre’s conventions with a uniquely haunting perspective. Embattled Northern Armenia at the end of the 20th century—where Lena, a young woman returns from Moscow to convince her grandparents to join her on a trip back to Russia—presents an apocalyptic vision of freedom and imagination in limbo, made forlornly oneiric through the film’s pallid tones and discreet performances of its cast (including Sofiko Chiaureli, best known as Sergei Parajanov’s muse). Made when Saakyan was 27, Mayak was the first feature film to be completed by a woman in Armenia. An Andreevsky Flag Film Company / Anniko Films release.

As the negative of Mayak has been lost, this version was scanned from the remaining 35mm print and color graded in Fixafilm, postproduction and restoration house based in Warsaw, Poland. The work was financially supported by Kino Klassika Foundation and conducted within the Hamo Bek-Nazarov project.