Don Askarian – Komitas (1989)

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The film is dedicated to the Armenian monk and genius composer Komitas, and the 2 million victims on his people in Turkey in 1915. The final 20 years of Komitas life were spent in various mental hospitals. The destiny of Komitas? This is the magic beauty of Armenian culture and the abhorrent brutality of Armenian history. A cultural and artistic world that was slaughtered with a curved knife. A humanity that doggedly advances towards an apocalyptic catastrophe, that does not recognize its own original purpose, eradicates its own memory, its final roots. Continue reading

Henrik Malyan – Nahapet AKA Life Triumphs (1977)

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Story of a strong-willed man, Nahapet, who lost his family during the 1915 Genocide! is an eternal story of resurrection.

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From imdb
Storyline

Nahapet (meaning also patriarch in Armenian) has lost all his family and intimates, his house and properties during the 1915 Genocide. Self-absorbed and reticent, he reminds a withered tree. Same is with the village on the slops of Aragatz mountain where he finds shelter – half-destroyed houses, cowed faces, sun-scorched rocky earth. Could Nahapet find inner strength to build a new house, start a new family, revive the things cast away by the destiny. Eternal story of resurrection, so much symbolic for Armenian nation’s history. Written by Artak Continue reading

Artavazd Pelechian – Vremena goda aka Seasons of the Year (1975)

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The history of the Armenian nation from a Marxist point of view.
Illustrated by Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”.

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Artavazd Pelechian’s Seasons of the Year (1975), a film-essay about the contradiction
and the harmony between man and nature, was the the 2nd and the last collaboration
with Vartanov, who had directed Autumn Pastoral (1971) from Peleshian’s screenplay.
In the Seasons of the Year (1975), for the first time, Artavazd Pelechian did not use any
archival footage likely due to the exquisite cinematography by Vartanov. Peleshian’s
Seasons of the Year (1975) is one of the 3 most important documentary films made in
Armenia, along with Sergei Parajanov’s Hakop Hovnatanian (1967) and Vartanov’s
Paradjanov: The Last Spring (1992).

The crew of the 30 minute black and white picture, also known as Four Seasons,
Seasons of the Year, Tarva Yeghanakner and Vremena Goda, reportedly included
Tigran Mansurian, who frequently worked with Parajanov, Vartanov and Peleshian. Continue reading

Sergei Parajanov – Ukrainskaya rapsodiya aka Ukrainian Rhapsody (1961)

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“Ukrainskaya Rapsodiya” (the USSR, 1961) of Sergueï Paradjanov is a film saga of oceanic proportion with many rivers flowing into it. The characters are the affluents which mix in and distinguish themselves within the furrows of the storyline. An ocean of images but of musics too. Cause the film evolves more by its musical quality, then by its narration.

Orksana, talented student at the Ukrainian Academy likes Antonin whom she met in her youth. Here the love is less tumultuous in retrospect to “Pervyy Paren” (USSR, 1958) of the same Paradjanov, even if a certain formal expression of it remain. In this third feature of the Armenian filmmaker; the Second World war, one of the rare History adaptations of Paradjanov, come to disturb the peaceful flow. “Ukrainskaya Rapsodiya” thus enter in a powerful melody, the railroads, industrial symbols of the river, cross in several plans, as if to illustrate the opulence of the livings. Continue reading

Sergei Parajanov – Tsvetok na kamne AKA A Little Flower on a Stone (1962)

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Description: Full of arresting chiaroscuro images, Paradjanov’s only monochrome film plays like a noir thriller. Set in a mining town in the Donets Basin, it centres on a clash (allegorical?) between the political establishment and a religious cult which infiltrates the community. With critic Ron Holloway’s Paradjanov: A Requiem (Germany 1994, 59min): a lengthy 1988 interview with Paradjanov frames clips from all the films and samples of his drawings and designs.

(http://www.bfi.org.uk/whatson/node/14484) Continue reading

Don Askarian – Avetik (1992)

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“Avetik” is very much in tradition of the cinema of dreams. A gorgeous and mesmerizing film, “Avetik” both thrills the eye and boggles the mind. It takes you on a journey of the mind that leads to heaven or hell – a succulent garden full of bare-breasted goddesses or a frozen step of devastation and death”. “Askarian is capable of producing images that are unlike anything ever seen before, yet hit you with a primal immediacy”.Hovering between the realms of poetry and history, this stunningly photographed, elegiac work-hot mostly in long takes-mixes cryptic metaphor and fantastic symbolism to tell the story of Avetik, an Armenian filmmaker exiled in Berlin. Director Askarian employs dreamlike images-a crumbling, ancient stone chapel gradually reduced to nothing by the rumbling vibrations of passing military vehicles; a ghostly cemetery of carved tombstones in which a woman takes a starving sheep in her arm and breast-feeds it back to life-to reflect the history of his homeland and shades of his own exile in Germany. In sensuous, lyric tableaux, Askarian explores German racism, the 1915 Armenian genocide, the disastrous earthquake of 1989, tranquil childhood memories, and images inspired by erotic medieval poetry. Continue reading