“The flaw of my films is that they lack words. The advantage of my films is that they lack words. My films will live long as they have many mistakes,” master of world cinema ArtavazdPeleshian described his films with this statement.
In addition to his films, Artavazd Peleshian has written two books entitled “Distance Montage’ and “My Cinema”. A few decades later the master wrote the two-volume book entitled “Marking Time”. The book is a summary of the best articles about Artavazd Peleshian the authors of which are foreign film critics, specialists and reporters. Artavazd Peleshian has collected and summarized them for years. The articles written in various languages have been translated into Russian and have been involved in the two-volume book “Marking Time”.
Presentation of Artavazd Peleshian’s two-volume book “Marking Time” was held at Cafesjian Center for the Arts. Minister of Culture Hasmik Poghosyan and other film critics, intellectuals and cinephiles attended the meeting. The volumes have been published with the state support. The presentation was followed by the screening of the documentary film “Poet of Cinema: ArtavazdPeleshian” shot by Ordfilm Company. The film was shot in 2009 with the support of National Cinema Centre of Armenia.
The book presentation was a good opportunity for our intellectuals and art workers to meet ArtavazdPeleshian, enjoy his company, and maybe listen to his speech which was unlikely if we take into account the fact that the master rarely gives interviews or delivers a speech in front of the public.
During the event the attendees managed to take books with ArtavazdPeleshian’s inscription on them, which is again a rare phenomenon. Film Composer Tigran Mansurian and film critic David Muradyan talked about Peleshian’s cinematography.
“We have roots of life which are present in Peleshian’s. We often look at Ararat. But few people have seen the world and have got in touch with it from the peak of Ararat. That few people were Yeghishe Charents, Yervand Kochar, Konstat Zaryan, Artavazd Peleshian. He remains silent and gives us something to talk about. In his films an Armenian talks in a way that the world understand that language and considers that cinema his own,” David Muradyan talked about the features of Peleshian’s films.
Composer Tigran Mansurian considered the issuance of the two volumes of “Marking Time” as an important cultural event. He was sure that the two-volume book could serve as a valuable material for film critics and the people studying Peleshian’s cinematography, as the books not only present ArtavazdPeleshian’s art, but they are also about the Armenian people in general.
“In this period of commotion our connection with the world is provided by the beauty born out of our land, which is presented by Peleshian.We know how to become a source of inspiration, as Parajanov was with his films. Each scene of the film “Colour of Pomegranates” was perfection. Parajanovedited them. In answer to the question how that scenes were related to each other he answered that he had no idea. In fact he edited them conveying us the sense of the scene not the scene itself. He had his own emotional and deep interpretation of his films. He did so for us to see and live them. Such are the great masters of cinema.
There is a silence in Peleshian’s films as they don’t need words. It is similar to writing words for a music composition. It is a crime. In the same way there is a surprising harmony of the scene and music in Peleshian’s cinema. There are few artists who have created perfect works of art (attractive, unforgettable) and have a clear perception of symmetry. They know that structure hides the secret of never getting old and living forever. Peleshian is such an artist. His art often presents what is eternal and universal. Such deep works are rare to come across. Narekatsi is also unmeasurable. For centuries our villagers have put his work under their pillows and unconditionally believed in its power without understanding his poetics. That book has rhythms coming from above. Peleshian’s cinema also has those limitless rhythms coming from the cosmos. This is one of the conditions of the vitality of his art. Certainly the music plays an important role in his films. Those simple scenes where ordinary people with ordinary features are shown contain enormous material, movements of different rhythms that are combined and harmonized.
These books complete the analysis and perceptions of different people about Peleshian’s art. Those books will be analysed a lot during the course of time and will present the greatest master of our cinema,” Tigran Mansurian noted.
All the attendees of the event expected ArtavazdPeleshian to come up with a speech. The master lived up to their expectations and took the stage. His speech was comprehensive and philosophical.
“I think that cinema was ahead of all forms of art, but it technically appeared after all of them. All the motions in cave drawings depict a film scene. A person named Zeno of Elea lived in the 3rd century BC. He is well known for his paradox formulas. You are certainly aware of one of his most famous formulas, i.e. in a race Achilles can never overtake the tortoise. Zeno has also some formulas that can be connected to the cinema. For example, let’s discuss one of them. He considers a flying arrow to be motionless. How is it possible? Zeno divided the flying arrow into segments and showed that the last segment is at rest. Thus he concluded that as the flying arrow is composed of segments and each segment is motionless, the whole arrow is motionless.
Let me bring another example. 52 scenes can be shot on one-meter long film tape. If we shoot the flying arrow we will see 52 scenes of motionless arrows. Look what film thinking Zeno of Elea had 23 decades ago. In fact he eliminated the idea of the motion. Then came Galileo Galilei who stopped the time in his turn. He divided the time into parts and based on the last motionless part he considered that the whole time is not going on. As for the cinema I can state that it has a special attitude towards time. My book is entitled “Marking Time”. The entire world uses a statement according to which cinema is a marked, recorded time. I believe that the time cannot be marked or recorded, but there comes a time when we record something on the tape. While time is never recorded on the tape. A film is just a memory for the time. There is a good word to say: “I am going to take a picture.” I took a picture, what I took – a picture, where from – from the hands of the time.
Tonino Guero once told me about Antonioni. Antonioni was taking a bus when he saw an old man. He took the photo of the man and gave it immediately to him. The old man looked at the photo and said: “Why did you stop the time?” Antonioni was surprised by that statement that was on the point. I think it would be more correct if the old man said: “Why did you stop my motion and took it from the hands of time?”
There is no time in cinema. It is beyond the time. When watching a film for the first time Tolstoy’s heart fell into his stomach: “What a monstrous thing is this? Shadows are moving across the wall,” he cried.
One of the French newsletters has written an article about me and has chosen a wrong heading for it. It is entitled “Peleshian is against the time and word”. Peleshian is a very small person to be against this monstrous and powerful time. Peleshian is not against time, but time is against Peleshian. As for being against the word I am not against it. I have watched wonderful films based on the words. I am not against the speech, but I use few words because of the time, to save time for the audience.
This book contains another article entitled “The Time is against me, and the cinema is against the time.” If you read these books you can notice the day, month and year under the articles. The date only indicates when the article has been written but its content does not recognize any time limits. The same is in cinema. Only the time of shooting is shown but not the time on the screen. Time is a very powerful thing, but cinema also has powerful capabilities. Everyone is afraid of time but the powerful time, in its turn, fears of the powerful film,” Artavazd Peleshian concluded his speech with this statement.
The event dedicated to the great master came to prove again that how much the time changes the cinema or the cinema changes the time there is a type of film that does not change and has ensured its eternity. It is Peleshyan’s film art.