Film director, scriptwriter Arshak Amirbekyan has shot his second feature film. The film shootings started two and a half year ago. The director has not applied to any sponsor (neither the state nor a patron) to raise funds for the film project. The film budget has been formed due to the donations made by his friends, acquaintances and the public.
“Mariam’s Day Off” tells the story of a prostitute. The film idea was born from an incident. A couple of years ago Arshak Amirbekyan met a group of prostitutes when walking down one of Yerevan streets. Because he was walking quickly he stopped for a moment putting his hand on his chest. A young girl, one of the prostitutes, reacted to his action saing: “Yeah, how can a heart survive in this life?”
That is it. This incident made the director touch upon the theme of prostitutes. Arshak Amirbekyan has searched a lot to find the actress to play the role of the main heroine. Finally he has found the actress Ruzan Witt known for her role in Vigen Chaldranyan’s film “Priestess”
Ruzan Witt’s role in “Priestess” is her only character played during the last 10 years. After “Priestess” the actress hadn’t received an invitation from a director until she was offered to embody Mariam in this film. “I was also surprised that I was left unnoticed. I got married and gave birth to a daughter during this period, but I have had a pause in my career. I haven’t even had an invitation from the theatres. When living in Paris I was always shot in films and had a premiere once in two years. This might also be based on the fact that I have rejected the invitation to play in TV series in these 10 years. Actually I didn’t want to play in TV series as I took responsibility for my biography and the way that I have passed. But recently I have agreed to play in a TV series as I have realized that unless you play in a TV series the society will not recognize and remember you. Unfortunately it is true,” Ruzan Witt noted.
Ruzan Witt is concerned with the issue of prostitution as much as the issue of TV series. It turns out that the actress has studied the destinies of prostitutes for a long time, has got acquainted with their lives and problems and is convinced that Armenian women take that road because of the social needs: to save their children and even their husbands. “Prostitution is a minor sin in comparison with selling one’s soul. The most reprehensible thing is when a person sells his sole for the sake of money and career. This film is about a prostitute but not prostitution. We have tried to show how a woman changes in just one day as she is actually a different person. We have shown one Sunday in Mariam’s life.”
RuzanWitt was 33 when the premiere of the film “Priestess” was held. 10 years later a new film has premiered when she is 43 years old, and she could have played many roles during that period.
The film also stars Ashot Adamyan. The director has noted that he has played an important role in the film not only as a protagonist but also as a consultant. He has changed a lot in the script and has guided them. Arshak Amirbekyan has given another chance to the audience to discover aa new layer of Ashot Adamyan’s acting skills.
The film lasts 45 minutes. After Yerevan premiere the director intends to present the film “Mariam’s Day Off” to international film festival. And the film premiered in Moscow cinema.
Evaluating simple, human relations the film authors have tried to show the layer of the human soul invisible to an eye through the example of a woman who have found herself on the bottom of the life. In order to see that hidden side of the person it is needed to show affection for her and to take her from the everyday life. Then it becomes clear that a person longs for the simplest, human treatment, a slice of love and a sincere smile. The two sides of the reality alter the woman’s soul as she realizes that the simplest human happiness, such as walking in the city is not for her as the walk has a completely different intention for her.
The 45-minute film “Mariam’s Day Off” shows one Sunday of prostitute Mariam’s life, which, she knows, will never repeat again. During that one Sunday people communicated with her without any expectations and she opened her soul to them forgetting who she is as no one reminded her of her identity. The fact that happy Sunday will never repeat again causes Mariam irreparable pain.