One Day with Peleshyan

Sequence-0300On 28 July a meeting was organized with the world famous film director Artavazd Peleshyan at the Red Hall of Moscow Cinema. The meeting had been initiated by the Ministry of Culture of the RA with the support of Ordfilm Company and Moscow cinema.

The master has been to Armenia for two weeks and decided to encounter with his fans and media. As it was scheduled firstly the films “The Natives”, “Seasons of the Year”, “Life”, and “The End” were screened which was followed by Q & A session. However he refused to speak in front of cameras.

The hall of Moscow cinema was overcrowded. Although all the students of the universities, including the vocational ones, were on vacation, many people were interested and excited about the invitation to the evening dedicated to Artavazd Peleshyan. All his films were accompanied by the storm of applause, and when the master took the stage to speak hundreds of participants had bent hearing not to miss a single word. It was evident that people had a need to hear his speech though the master didn’t speak much this time as well. However he answered some of the questions. There were numerous questions, but shortly after the film director thanked to all the attendees and left the cinema surrounded by a large group of fans. Many visitors were not satisfied with the short conversation. They wanted to listen to the prominent artist a bit longer and to acknowledge his inner world, but they knew that Artavazd Peleshyanwas unpredictable and could stop at the most unexpected moment.

However the master had a retrospective look at his past and told the following story: “We were shooting the film “Seasons of the Year”. I sent the administrator and the cameraman of the crew to the Ministry of Agriculture to learn whether there was a village in Zangezurthat was far from civilization. It turned out that such a village actually existed. It was good that the village was discovered, as the ministry found out for itself that there was such a village and the village learnt itself that the Soviet regime had already arrived.

That village was located in a gorge. Now I don’t remember its name. It had a total of 10-12 houses. We were heading by car. When we reached the gorge we decided to continue the way on foot as the car couldn’t overcome that roads. But the driver insisted on driving, and when we reached there only the skeleton of the car had been left. The village was very similar to the one depicted in Tumanyan’s fairy tale “Liar Hunter”. We saw three old men sitting around the fire and making vodka. We greeted them and told that we had paid a visit to their village to shoot a film. They didn’t know what a film was. We agreed to return in two days.

There are some highly professional issues which even some directors are not aware of. For example, one of such matters is that the people shot in crowd scenes whose faces are not visible are paid 3 rubles, and the people who are filmed in episodes and whose faces are visible in the scene, are paid 7 rubles and 50 kopecks. After completing the shooting rounds we brought together the villagers and began to distribute their money with receipts as it was prescribed by law. We gave 3 rubles to an old man, but he approached us and said: “How can it be so? I am an “episodic”. There are such stories that are both funny and highly characterizing those people.”

The audience wondered why Peleshyan hadn’t not a film for such a long time. The film director touched upon that painful issue once more and stated the following: “I haven’t received funds. I have written the film script “The Armenian Land” but it was not shot. Similarly “The Homo Sapiens” failed to be shot. I have always stressed that I depict each film on the paper at first. I see each scene on the paper and then begin to shoot them. In addition to the films that were not shot I have some other things to do.”

The master didn’t go into the details regarding his future activities but he noted that he wanted to continue teaching.

Film composer Tigran Mansuryan had also attended the event. The friendship of the two masters started decades ago. And the emotional and intense reaction of the audience to their handshake came to prove that old and pure friendship, the silent respect to each other’s art.

Peleshyan is our permitting card, our right to enter the cultural world,” Tigran Mansuryan said greeting his old friend from the stage.

Naira Paytyan

 

 

 

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