ON THE FILM "KOMITAS"
This film, it must be admitted, is not easy to understand. Its overall
structure closes into itself rather than opens up, toasealed, impenetable
entity.Yet for me this inaccessibility was rather an inducementtoknow more,to
learn more about Armenian culture and more about the Armenian destiny.Thus l
am surethatthe film can indeed be accessible to those who are interested in
its topic; l am sure it is an artistically important film for those who want
to understand this repressed and forgotten Situation.
Throughoutthe film,the director's intention is clear: not so much to
confrontthe viewerwith the destruction of the Armenian people,the genocide.but
rather to presentthe beautyof the Armenian countryside.Armenian culture, and
the profound feeling ofdespairatthedownfall.The musician Komitas, with
hisdestiny,provides an ideal character to help fulfill this intention.
Not once, in my perception, does the film slide into affectation in its use
of aesthetic means.The fusion of aesthetics and ethics, imbuing ńs it does
Orthodox theology and Orthodox artistic appreciation, leads to a kind of
involvement with place, time and people who exhibit the ability to pause, to
reflect, a protection against further catastrophes of the same kind.
The film is important, especially in today's political Situation, where
Turkey still denies the genocide,and the USSR is slowly beginning to show more
open-mindedness in coming to terms with the pastThis has led to discussion
within the church about whether the Protestant Church should take on
sponsorship for the showing of such a film in West Germany Not to do so might
lead to a revival of the oppressive measures which until now have keptthe
general public uninformed about the Armenian catastrophe.This question will
continue to be dealt with by Protestant film work.
Hans Werner Dannowski
The Municipal Superintendant
The representative of the CounciI of the German Protestant Church for film
"'Komitas' is an original vision of our century's
defining crime. Ambitious, gorgeously composed and rigorously demanding, Don
Askarian's "Komitas" is nothing less than an attempt to present
genocide and its awful aftermath as a collective memory of barbarity rather
than a sequence of events".
Desmond Ryan, "The Philadelphia
Inquirer" May 7, 1993
"Superior artistry and technical craftsmanship are consistently
on view. Still, Askarian's uncompromising views on audience pandering commercial
cinema surface repeatedly. His artistic integrity in sticking to his guns
command respect, and stand to stoke the international rep he carved out with
his first feature, 'Komitas' ".
"Variety" 21 Dec, 1992
If you can sit through this movie, you'll be glad you
did. It makes meanings just as an obscure poem, a piece of music, a postmodern
dance, make meanings - pushing at the audience without resolving. And somehow,
sense is made out of bits and pieces of anguish, insanity and revelation".
"Welcomat" May 5, 1993
close this window