The more easily you can
summarize the contents of a film making use of a automated language. the
less 'filmish' that film is. The content of a film is in its form, and
Art experts are condemned to grope around eternally in the viscous
circle of rationality, and, like the blind of Breughel they will never
be able to grope their way to their aim: to understand and explain art.
Art is metaphoric, and artistic metaphor can only be explained
metaphorically. that means: in order to articulate an authentic and
precise reaction to an artistic production you need another artistic
production which is as mysterious and inexplicable as the previous, and
which itself longs for new metaphors and artistic productions if you
want to react to it, and so it goes on -ad infinitum. Then you
understand that an artistic metaphor is no less precise than nuclear
physics. Is film criticism an art form, as precise as nuclear physics?
I'll try to express my film with the help of a sentence which is perhaps
organized metaphorically: "Tobacco, from which the 'Camel'
cigarette has been made that l am just lighting, while thinking about
the sentence l have just written. grows out of the cracked scull of my
grandfather, who perished in Iszmir".
Orwith Nabokov: "He thus knew, that even in this case Stevenson's
reading would never be interrupted by a Dantesque pause (...), and that
the bluntness of the glance, that one forgives the wonderfully beautiful,
moist eyes. inevitably corresponded to another hitherto hidden
blemish: the blunt expression of her breast, that is impossible to
forgive". Or Karl Marx: "The new era differs mainly from the
old in that the whip now begins to imagine itself to be a genius".
This expresses my film far more strongly than if l said that the film
contains the story of an Armenian emigrant in the West (Avetik in
Berlin), his reaction to tragic events in his homeland (Chapter
'Earthquake in Armenia'), his reflection on history (Meeting the king'),
the genocide of Armenians in Turkey in 1915 and its effects on
Diaspora-Armenians in Berlin (The conversation between the soothsayer
and her brother'), Avetik's childhood memories, his coming to terms with
death and love (Chapter 'Nahapet Kuchak'), about film and German racism
(Journalist at Avetik's). "The list of contents" as well as
the script itself are a pale literary translation of what only the
camera is able to create - with the exception of dialogues, naturally.
One day my door bell rang. l opened the door. A jovial young man introduced himself: Otto
Namman, Homicide Squad of the Berlin Police. He gave me a black notebook with red corners (made in China). It
belonged to an Armenian emigrant N. N., who had recently been murdered
in Berlin with seven unusually precise axe blows. lt turned out that he
had bequeathed his diary to me. After reading it l decided to shoot 'Avetik'.
We hardly knew each other. Here are some excerpts from his diary.
Artashes visited me, he was quite nervous, he smoked his way through a
whole pack of 'Gauloises'. At any rate he was not as embarrassingly
theatrical as Hamlet's father. And his horse was real. He bears a great
resemblance to the owner of the restaurant 'Dwin'. The king, not the
horse. He is going to play him. The king. The light was golden-grey,
very diffuse, but the few solitary, nimble spots that, as ever on secret
ways, found us, were very intense and amazingly sharply defined."
"They say that a compatriot of
Picasso's, also a painter, but much more talented than he, was ruined by
his scheming. l simply must find the traces of this scheming in his
paintings. In Picasso's. Must the cake of the German language be baked
with possessive paws, index fingers and arrows? A Charge against the
possessive pronoun. Brought by me."
Today I saw a documentary
film about the earthquake in Armenia. The Russians had it made in order
to milk the west, starting with the Diaspora-Armenians. One woman,
dead under concrete slabs, really looks like my mother. Did l cry in my
sleep? Is she still alive? l have no money which l could send her."
"Reality is neither
the subject nor the goal of true art, because it creates its own
reality, which has nothing in common with the 'middle of the road'
reality which is accessible to the collective eye."
Wladimir Nabokov 'Pale
Fire' had to write 'Lolita' for money."
"Film as art form
has degenerated into a poor bride; exported from maybe Asia, Africa or
Latin America, she is bitterly humiliated at the side events of big film
parties. The majority of Tv-editors, directors, producers, critics
and festival directors ought to be more brutally persecuted than the
drug-mafia and pimp-rapists, for they take the most tender beings,
children, and turn them into addicted monsters and shrieking whores.
This criminal Boheme, operating with a sharply pointed pencil (instead
of a cocain needle) destroy that which they do not begin to
"As if under
hypnosis, l went to the crossroads and lay down on the asphalt. The cars
honked angrily, but all l could hear was the rushing of a stream under
the earth. This stinking city means less to me than one single
dragon-fly, as blue, purple and turquoise as the reflection of the sky
in the water. Who can still love like that? In circling, perpendicular
"In Teheran, after
the premiere of my film (mile long queues) a Turk was heard to say:
'Shame we didn't kill all the Armenians in 1915, then this film wouldn't
have been made. 'How am l to understand that? The invitation the Turkish
Film Festival promised to send me still hasn't arrived. Were his compliments on
my film made on behalf of the Turkish secret service? Another Turk
visited me in my hotel. He said that he would pray for me, that I would
be able to carry on making films."
"What does this
Journalist want from me? She didn't offer me any money for the
interview. 'The blunt expression of your breast...." „.
"The majority of
Germans suffer pathologically from racism. No foreigner has ever been
able to achieve any success worth mentioning here Beckett, Picasso, Ionesco,
Bunuel - None of them were French... l must get out of this filth as
fast as l can."
sketch the beyond of life so simply. Even in bad films you can feel his
wonderfully sensitive soul." "May lightning strike me if l
ever write, speak, think one word of a lie."
disguised as highly talented film directors, actually persecuted, the
poor bastards, home. Their films were banned, to get them sold in the
West. To make up for that, the 'enemy of the people' was allowed to make
the same film 3 times over in the Army film Studios. They were banned
from their professions, but allowed to work as spys in hard currency
hotels. That didn't bother anybody. But l suggest, as l believe in the
strict protection of author's rights. that next to the portraits of
Eisenstein Stalin's portrait should be hung in film museums, and some
lions, bears and palms should be made out directly to the film sections
of the secret Services."