When the Persimmons Grew

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    When the Persimmons Grew

    Xurmalar Yetişən Vaxt

    Directed by

    Azerbaijan, Austria


    118 min

    • Azerbaijani

    Immobile in a home where the sands of time fall to the rhythm of rural Azerbaijani sounds, a mother waits for her son. When he arrives, their conversations circle around existential questions and news from afar, troubling and cryptic. Unrest cloaks the world outside.
    Mother and son grow closer, silence melts into words, and life springs between them. The son leaves, and winter settles in to the forever-outdated house in which temporalities blurs and past and present beat to the rhythm of the same clock.


    • Special Mention (International Competition), Interreligious Award - Visions du Réel
    • Heart of Sarajevo for Best Documentary Film - Sarajevo FF



    Hilal Baydarov
    Hilal Baydarov
    Hilal Baydarov

    Director's Statement

    "When the primroses were turning red, and the white cherries were in bloom" — that is when my grandmother says the war ended. She talks about time the way people did in olden days, before the calendar divided it up into days, months, and years.
    When time had no name and was not measured in numbers, it was marked by the rhythms of nature. My father was born "when the rivers overflowed and the grass was harvested," says my grandmother, meaning my father was born in June.
    Exact dates mattered less than durations which nature filled with meaning. Time was not a line. It ebbed and flowed with the seasons, was shaped by the lifecycles of the flora and fauna.
    The title of my film, WHEN PERSIMMONS GREW, pays homage to this traditional way of denoting time. People were coming and going from my family back then. We gathered together, and we broke apart. We grew up, and set about living our own lives. Everything was changing and becoming more colorfull, for all except my mother, whom time left alone.
    I left home then and returned eight years later — when the persimmons grew.



    Hilal Baydarov

    Hilal Baydarov


    My actors are my friends in real life and they are real persons in the film. So when we want to make a film, the only extra thing out there is the camera.

    Hilal Baydarov was born in 1987 in Baku, Azerbaijan. During his high school years, he won the national championships of mathematics twice in 2004 and 2005. In 2011 he leads the Azeri team at the informatics olympiad in Thailand. After a master in computer sciences, he left for Sarajevo to study film directing with Bela Tarr. His debut feature film HILLS WITHOUT NAMES was premiered at the Montreal Film Festival in 2018, the same year he won the Docu Talent award at Sarajevo Film Festival for his film BIRTHDAY. WHEN THE PERSIMMONS GREW (2019) is Baydarov's third feature film what won two awards at Visions du réel film festival in Nyon and also Heart of Sarajevo for Best Documentary Film at Sarajevo Film Festival. MOTHER AND SON (2019) is his fifth feature film that premiered in competition in IDFA. NAILS IN MY BRAIN is his six feature film that premiered in competition in Cinema du réel. It is also the last film of KATECH trilogy which includes MOTHER AND SON, WHEN THE PERSIMMONS GREW and NAILS IN MY BRAIN.

    Selected Filmography