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F 0 C U S   0 N   F I L M

KOMITAS

This beautiful, enigmatic film draws its inspiration from the life of Komitas (b. 1869), an Armenian monk and composer who spent his last 20 years in mental hospitals after witnessing the Turks' slaughter of over 1 million of his countrymen in 1915. Filled with mad arrogance, the film is the polar opposite of a conventional biotic: it refuses logical connections and seems to be trying to depict its protagonist's state of mind, as a world whose sensuous presence manifests itself in every frame slowly trickles, drips, spills, topples, or crumbles away. The hermetic style and slow pace of Komitasí may alienate many - and its imagery will surely remind wags of the description Gene Hackman's character gives of an Eric Rohmer movie in Night Moves: "like watching paint dry." Yet the filmmaker's refusal to obey the rules of traditional narrative will earn the grudging respect of many viewers, particularly those moved by Askarian's belief that "all culture is created by hermits and recluses." And surely all spectators will reap rich rewards in the film's many startlingly beautiful images - one of the cameramen is great Arvanitis, responsible for the stunning camerawork in many of Angelopoulosí films (Landscape in the Mist).

ASBAREZ ENGLISH EDITION
Saturday, February
25, 1989