In August of 2014, I met a remarkable man, while I was filming in Lugansk at the time of the Lugansk blockade. A member of the people’s militia. A parachutist, a furniture maker turned frontline fighter, 34-year-old Denis Somov (call-sign Aramis) was really quite remarkable.
More, he decided not only to be a fighter, joining up with his brother after Ukraine’s bombardment of his home city compelled him to take arms, he also took about filming as much of his experience as possible. War was all new to Denis, and with his basic, compact camera, he captured a daily record both of how it was to be a fighter in the people’s militia, as the Ukrainian blockade was broken, and a wave of new territory taken, and a period in history otherwise hardly chronicled – a dearth of, at least western, journalists covering this period has meant its realities remain largely unknown to the wider world.
Aramis was killed in action in the operation to take Debaltsevo, sustaining life-ending wounds in open conflict on February 11th, 2015. He left a great deal behind him – a vast archive of video material, his daughters, wife, brother, comrades-in-arms.
The film Aramis – Donbass Musketeer‘ is the story of Aramis. It’s also the story of how the blockade of Lugansk in 2014 was beaten. It’s the story of an amazing man, of many amazing individuals, the story of how an unexpected war made a man take arms against what had been his country, and of how life has gone on in the aftermath of the death of Aramis.
I will look forward to meeting you at the film’s showing in London, details to be confirmed.
Effects and production on the film by Aramis’ brother, Oleg Somov.