ARMENIA, GERMANY, THE NETHERLANDS / 2000 / Armenian / Color / Video / 76 min
Director, Script, Editing, Narrator, Producer: Don Askarian
Photography: Artak Markarian
Sound: Wardan Babaian
Music: Armenian folk music
Production Company, Source: Don Film Production
Aigedzorstr. 69a, apt. 9, Yerevan ARMENIA
Phone & Fax: 374-1-227075
Folk-musicians earn their money on the streets of the Armenian capital Yerevan, and tight-rope walkers perform in front of the old monastery of Khor Virap. Young Armenians dance themselves in a craze to contemporary trance and hardcore. Regardless whether there’s an audience or not, the music continues to ring—in underground passages, in courtyards, in discos, in graveyards and in the stairwells of ancient stone buildings. Askarian allows us to fully appreciate the depth of each musician’s art, but the film is not just a audiovisual record of performances. Pedestrians’ feet on the street, dancing light and wind, a drunken brass band, a sinister suit-clad man in a limousine... Drama and improvisation lurk in every scene, reflecting something about the Armenian psyche.
[Directors Statement] What happens after the collapse of empire? —All know and expect it in advance, but there’s one thing they don’t know: Despite the destruction, the disintegration, the humiliation, the social catastrophes of the war... despite the poverty, the betrayal... despite the annihilation of all bases of the life—the music sounds, and how it sounds! Higher and higher, over the human sorrow and over the pain! It is also a mental attitude, a stance and an attitude practiced daily, and awakens hope in the abandoned and in those who have already lost their last hope. The film reports on drummers, who can drum with the cut-off hands the way that... About... it is easy to go over the water, try it once in the air.
Born in 1949 in Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabakh. In 1967 went to Moscow and studied history and art. Worked as an assistant director and film critic for a year after his study. In 1978 emigrated from USSR to West Berlin. For the last 20 years, has lived and worked in Germany. Prizewinner at several international film festivals. Perhaps the only director whose “purely Armenian” films have been professionally distributed and proved financially successful in Germany, Japan, Holland and England. Has also exhibited his photography internationally. Works include The Bear (1984), Komitas (1988), Avetik (1992), Parajanov (1998) and On the Old Roman Road (2001). Now finishing the full-length films San-Lazzaro and Noraduz.