Hamazkayin Film Festival

From February 6th to March 6th 2015 the London Armenian community had the pleasure of viewing a series of five films at the Navasartian Centre courtesy of Hamazkayin London.

The festival commenced with the screening of ‘Broken Childhood’ by Jivan Avetisyan. The film was an excellent piece of art by Avetisyan that, like his film ‘Tevanik’, focuses on the effect of war on children. However this film explores the relationship between a family and the never ending love of a mother and child.

On February 13th ‘Mayrig’ was screened. The film directed by Henri Verneuil follows an Armenian family that immigrates to France following the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The film contrasted strongly with the Avetisyan’s style and was an interesting change of scenery from the war in Artsakh.

On February 20th we had the pleasure of watching the widely acclaimed film of ‘Tevanik’by Avetisyan. This was my second time watching it, and took the opportunity to analyse the excellent acting of the cast rather than focusing on the story.

On February 27th ‘Lark Farm’ was shown, an Italian film that tracked the events of the Genocide. This piece blended Italian film style and Armenian tradition in numerous ways, including an extremely intriguing soundtrack.

On March 6th we were shown ‘Ravished Armenia’, the first ever film on the subject of the Armenian Genocide. This film following Lark Farm made for an interesting comparison with earlier and later filmography of the Genocide. The film was followed by a talk by Rev. Nerses.

The variety of the films shown in the festival reminded one of the multitudes of people affected by war and Genocide in a multitude of different ways. Evidently the festival focused strongly on the Genocide, and it presented a diverse image of the Genocide from French, Italian and early American filmography styles. The Jivan Avetisyan films served to remind us that despite the Genocide being a century ago, Armenians still struggle today. The struggles of children shown in Avetisyan films are unfortunately very possible again considering the unstable situation on Armenia’s eastern border.

The Hamazkayin film festival was an excellent opportunity for one to be exposed to a portion of Armenian history via the medium of film. It was also an excellent opportunity to attend the cinema on a Friday night and see art that radiates charged messages and emotions, rather than standard CGI-heavy Hollywood blockbusters.

—Vahe Boghosian
Hamazkayin’s events can be found at: http://on.fb.me/1HvbmQs

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