TECHNICAL DATA:
Size 35 mm, length 76 min, color, Dolby SR, 2001.

Language: English and Armenian.
Prints with English & Dutch subtitles.

Sale and distribution 
by Don Film
e-mail: info@don-askarian.com





SYNOPSIS

Levon remembers his childhood in Turkey: love, political brutality. 
A bloody comedy.
Also a modern crime story about Armenian terrorists and Turkish secret agents, about Kurds tragedy.


Anna in the garden

DIRECTOR’S INTENTIONS

(From my letter to the commissioning editor of the film, Mr. Joachim von Mengershausen, WDR).

" ... Do you remember the changes, new episodes and new story-telling structure, which I wanted to bring into the film? 

In order to change the dramatic-external balance of the film into the real, alive, exciting harmony. For it, I need the story about the old rich Armenian, who organized strange receptions and vanguard music-evenings in his house, with sweating soloist, who bites his instrument with the gamble, with the famous Polish film director (pan Vaida, on his shoulder the old and somewhat disturbed servants, also a Pole, before excitement the whole tray with filled wine glasses pours out - with the words "Porsche Pan"(please, mister) and the owner of the house himself, that his toy-bombs, the flying sheet metal-butterfly and jumped frog on his guests lets go, then, as he has them enough. Sweet and with the electronic full little animals call by the guests a delight forth, and then horror and fright, as it incredibly loud and with much smoke exploded and we see the cello hover, very slowly and quietly singing through the area and in the panic fleeing guests...

Also Vano, carpet-seller, will receive his second, secret life, as light-footed dead-angel for the Turkish politician, as charming terrorist, as loner and successful lover. He prepared the "liquidation" of the Turkish consuls in Rotterdam, and executed them. He lures him with the picture of the Turkish sultan Abdul Hamid The Bloody, which he has bought in the auction house “Leo Jansen “. Secret connections consist between Vano and the old man of uptown Rotterdam, who presumably finances this terror-attack.  Also the Kurdish topic in the film must become reinforced. So much pain and so much injustice at Kurds! A short, strong documentary will originate over the people, who burn, who set themselves to fire. Dancing fire. Fire-human beings. Indifference and complicity of the politics. The face of Ocalan, fully injected with medications, doesn't leave my memory.   I would like to shoot the Dutch part of the film in 35 mm, in order to sense the difference between present and past also in picture-quality.

Don Askarian

The Harvard Film Archive about the film

Askarian’s most recent project is another meditation on the artist in exile. Like the filmmaker Avetik and the real-life composer Komitas from his previous films, Levon--a writer of Armenian extraction now living in Rotterdam - is caught between memories of homeland and the realities of contemporary life. From his Dutch domicile, Levon reminisces about his brother-in-law (a hairdresser who robs dead Turks), a brilliant Kurdish musician, a red-bearded executioner, a seventeen-year-old girl with chestnut-colored skin, and a Turkish Apollo with eight wives who likes to bury himself in hot ash. His memory is also populated by beautiful thoroughbred horses, stray dogs, camel drivers, soldiers, and Turkish policemen. These poetic, almost surrealist scenes of magic love and political cruelty are contrasted with the reality of present day Rotterdam, presented in the guise of a modern crime story with Armenian terrorists and a Kurdish tragedy.

The prince

Taos Talking Picture Festival
Kelly Clement
Director of Programming


"We are delighted that you have accepted our invitation to screen ON THE OLD ROMAN ROAD at the 2002 Taos Talking Picture Festival, April 11 - 14. Every year, we look at thousands of films and when one shines above the rest, as ON THE OLD ROMAN ROAD did, it is indeed a pleasure. Don Askarian, recently honored with a Harvard Film Archive retrospective, is considered the greatest living Armenian filmmaker. In Askarian's latest film, which he describes as “a bloody comedy,” a man in exile remembers a childhood of magic and mayhem, complete with grave robbers, brutal assassinations, horses, and men buried in hot ash. As striking a visual feast as one can find, this is an extravagant and crystalline treasure, a film whose rewards far outweigh its considerable demands."

CREDITS

Script writer, director, editor, art director
Don Askarian

Cameraman
Rudolf Vatinyan

Assistant of cameraman
Aleksander Davtyan

Sound
Keese v.d. Knapen
Vardkes Petrosyan
Vardan Hovakimyan

Assistants of director
Stepan Shahinyan , Mikael Vatinyan

Assistants of art director
Beatriz Viana Felgueras
Tim Leyendekker
Alik Assatrian
Arthur Khachatryan

Computer operating & editing
Dzul Sungit
Tigran Varzhapetyan
Arthur Tarposhyan

Make-up
Studio Pietertje
Emma Movsiasyan

Wardrobes
Qnqush Malkhasyan

Production assistants
Olga Zhyravleva
Gonny Jüngst
Robert Block


Casting by
Max Models
H&W Casting

Location & shipping
Ron Bakkers


Light
David Gevorkyan

Drivers
Arthur Khachatryan
Manasar Movsisyan
Iradj Sadeghi

Line produsers
Annemiek van Gorp
Nune Hovhannisyan

Co-producers
Rene Goossens
Annemiek van Gorp

Commissioning editor
Joachim von Mengershausen (WDR)

Producer
Don Askarian

Co-produced by
De Productie ,Holland
Film 21, Holland
Askarian Film, Germany

With financial support of
Rotterdam Film Fund
Dutch Film Fund
Hubert Bals Fund

In participation with
WDR, Germany

 

 

CAST

 

Lover & killer
Peit van Dijk

Sylvia
Sylvia Gelton

Levon as boy
Pavel Khachatrian

Levon
Don Askarian

Successor of Armenian king
Ohan Askarian

Pigeoner & plunderer of the dead Moslems
Stepan Shahinyan

Anna
Anna Basentyan

Turkish secret service agent
Tim de Zwart

Mother of Levon
Anna Ghazaryan

Father of Levon
Karen Khachatryan

Ali
Vazgen Tatunc

Concubine
Ghazaryan Susanna

The wife of Manuk
Avakian Satenik

Barber
Gevork Movsisyan

Mollah
Haikaz Aroyan

Armenian monarchist
Ted Leyendekker

Kurdish singer
Tanar Gatalpinar

Husband of Sylvia
Dikc Molenaar


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Copyright by Don Film, 2001 UP