A New Movie about the Armenian Genocide: “100”

RAB_07481-6-300x268Guzh Tadevosyan, the young director of “Margar Pap” and “And the Circus Arrived” films, has made his new film which is at post production stage now. The premiere of the film entitled “100” will be held in September of this year. The film is dedicated to the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, however, the tragedy is depicted through the insight of children in a symbolic way. According to the director there is an obvious symbolism in the movie. “Kinoashkharh” met the director and talked to him about the creation of the film full of the elements of “magical realism”, about the difficulties of production and also about the complications associated with raising of this actual topic.

“How was the idea of the film born?”

“Actually the idea does not belong to me. It belongs to Hayk Avagyan, the director and chief producer of Avagyan Production. The National Cinema Centre of Armenia, the Ministry of Culture of RA, “Phoenix” Charity Foundation and the Ministry of Education of RA have supported the project. I received an offer from Hayk Avagyan to become the stage director of the movie. Notably this production company is shooting its third film already. The company’s films are for children. The scrip has been conceived by Karlen Abrahamyan, and the original script has been written by my father, Samvel Tadevosyan. The actor Ruben Karapetyan has taken part in the activity of script development. The material was well known, but he has consulted with historians, turkologists, many professionals and experts. And after all that work I agreed to be the stage director of the film.”

“What is the film about? Who are the characters and how is the drama unfolding?”

“The film is partially based on facts, i.e. on the historical material. We show the tragic events of Adana and Kesab in 1909. It is the story of a village with its lifestyle, customs and traditions. And through that local area we get a picture of the global reality. Then, as the plot develops we show the Turks invade the village and slaughter the civilians. We do all this indirectly, all our films on this topic contain scenes of cruel slaughter, bloody massacre and crime. As a stage director, I decided to follow another, a symbolic and more associative way. Our hero, young Vardan, who is feeding his flock, returns the village right at that terrible moment. And everything changes in front of his eyes. The plunderers enter the village and steal everything. Seeing all that the boy manages to escape. This indicates the intellect and cleverness of an Armenian. In fact he manages to escape from the grip of death.”


“Well, what is the outcome of the story? Where is the saving light to cleanse the audience?”

“Many years pass. In the city of Mush the child is brought to the military college. The Turks know that he is Armenian, and decide to make him a soldier as well in order to fight a war and to kill the Armenians either. And Vardan pretends to be dumb in order not to die and to preserve his Armenian identity. The message of the film is right the matter of preservation of the Armenian identity, that the Armenian have managed to keep their identity during all the stages of their history. I don’t want to open the brackets so that the film be interesting for the audience, just want to say that at the final scene our hero is running in the field of red tulips and then appears in a white field, where wonderful wild flowers, chamomile grow. All this scene is full of hope and belief. As in its global sense the fil is dedicated to the children who were killed during the genocide, our Vardan’s escape symbolises the liberation of that wandering souls getting them peace and comfort. After all they raise to the Universe, to the Almighty.”

“What criteria did you apply when choosing the actors? And generally as a director what method do you use when working with them?”

“In addition to children, adults are also involved in the film, namely theatre actors that is professionals. In case of the children the features of their appearance were very important for me, so as they didn’t have typical Armenian features for the audience not to guess immediately that they are Armenians. In general, I don’t like when an actor is playing. He can do nothing in the shot but be very persuasive. And the opposite is also possible, he may constantly talk, pronounce pathetic lines, but be false and artificial. As a director the first and the most important condition for me is the psychological state of an actor, so that he can enter a given situation with his whole inner world, and be able to convey emotions and create a mood. The film does not like a lie. It is the atmosphere that takes us to that environment and that era.”

“You have initiated a historical movie. How did you manage to cope with the difficulties related to the artistic design, requisite and cloth modelling?” 

“You know, we had prepared for a long time before the actual shooting. We have shot the film for 14 days but we have been engaged in these activities from the beginning of this year. At first we were consulting with historians and the turkologist Artak Shakaryan. And in that way we managed to recreate the clothing, household items, different details and various accessories typical to that years. We have thoroughly recreated the space as well, I mean the decorative design and the various elements. It was a difficult process but possible to cope with. Notably we have built an entire film pavilion for us from scratch, and where we have performed the shooting.”

“Do you have any special preference towards the children’s films? Even here, as in your previous films, the characters are children.”

“Actually this is a coincidence. I haven’t intentionally chosen this type of material and topic. But I love children, and we have a lot to learn from them. They are very open, free, sincere and have a simple and clean look on our reality, on life. They are kind and live in their own imaginary world, in a fairy tale invented by them. They have more creative approach to everything. But it is very difficult to work with them. I hope that this new film dedicated to the children will bring children and their parents, relatives to the cinema halls. I wish more people would watch this film.”

“What do you think, what language and new solutions should the new generation of creators apply when referring to the topic of Genocide?”

“I think currently this topic is very urgent in our reality. All the types of art are important in this case, however visual arts and namely movies are much more powerful in making an influence, conveying a message and creating a field of dialogue.”

Interview by Maria Tokmajyan

Դիտվել է 33 անգամ


August 2015
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