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

Atom Egoyan – Calendar [+Extras] (1993)

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Atom Egoyan directs and stars in this painfully honest account of an Armenian photographer’s search for love in spite of himself. His marriage in tatters, he starts dating again, but can’t quite jump in with both feet, and his heart, first. With every date, he puts the women through the paces, asking them to make sexually charged phone calls to others. When he finally meets his match, his ex suddenly comes back into the already murky picture.
-netflix synopsis Continue reading

Harutyun Khachatryan – Sahman AKA The Border (2009)

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A poetic docu-drama based on real events witnessed by Armenian master Khachatryan. He reflects on the tragedy that befell his people during the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the 1990s, after the Soviet Union fell apart. He does so without words or indeed human protagonists, through the story of a buffalo who is found stuck in a ditch in the countryside. He is brought to a nearby farm where animals, farmers and refugees are gathered to hide and recover from the conflict. All regard him with great suspicion. We follow life on the farm and in the surrounding villages through the eyes of the buffalo over the course of a year, with the changing of the seasons and the slow rhythm of the place. (WARSAW FILM FESTIVAL) Continue reading