From 10 May 2022 until 9 June 2022, the Armenian Institute in partnership with, Klassiki, the world’s first streaming platform dedicated to cinema from Ukraine, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, will host SPACES AND PLACES, an in-cinema and online film season exploring the contested politics of place and Armenian identity. The films in this season all explore the idea of home – whether that be a place, an idea, or something in-between. They speak to the past and present of Armenia, marked so much by displacement and diaspora: ideas that are sadly as relevant now for international audiences as ever before.
The season will launch with a premiere of Henrik Malyan’s 1969 classic We Are Our Mountains, and is complemented by a month-long programme of online screenings, round table discussions, and director interviews. Curated by the Klassiki team, the Armenian Institute, and the National Cinema Centre of Armenia, the season comprises contemporary award-winning dramas, a series of female-directed shorts, and a newly scored and recently restored silent classic.
Programme supported by Film Hub London, managed by Film London. Proud to be a partner of the BFI Film Audience Network, funded by the National Lottery.
On the importance of bringing this series of films to UK audiences, director of the Armenian Institute and season curator Tatevik Ayvazyan writes: “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned’’, says Maya Angelou. A sentiment familiar to every Armenian, carrying so many stories of lost and found homes. And in this film festival, we are trying to weave a narrative of how connected our identity is to the places we inhabit, in body or in mind. We are incredibly excited to continue our successful collaboration with Klassiki and bring classic and contemporary films to our audiences.”
- 10 May 2022, Ciné Lumière, London
- 12 May 2022, Klassiki, online.
- 15 May 2022, Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds
Adapted from the work of beloved Armenian author Hrant Matevosyan, Henrik Malyan’s cult satire and comic pastorale demonstrates that rebellion and discontent in the 1960s was not limited to Russia and its cities, but instead reared their head throughout the Soviet space. A splendid example of the poetry and humour of the Armenian screen tradition, and widely celebrated as the greatest Armenian film ever made.
Ciné Lumière Tickets: bit.ly/3KdK8UA and Hyde Park Picture House Tickets: bit.ly/3Kh9qBg
- 19 May 2022, Klassiki, online.
Should The Wind Drop, Nora Martirosyan, 2020. Introduced by the director.
Selected as Armenia’s entry for Best International Feature at the 94th Academy Awards, this stunning Armenian-French-Belgian drama is a deeply poetic exploration of state borders. Set in the empty airport of Stepanakert in Nagorno Karabakh, a breakaway state in the South Caucasus, a French engineer must decide whether or not to shutter the building and thereby the hopes and dreams of its workers. A moving portrait of what it means to feel displaced within the space you call home.
- 26 May 2022, Armenian Institute, online.
Storgetnya, Hovig Hagopian, 2020 | 16 Districts, 16 Floors, 16 People, Tatevik
Vardanyan, 2018 | Antouni, Alik Tamar, 2017.
Plus a roundtable discussion on contemporary Armenian film featuring directors from across the season. A series of critically-acclaimed, female-directed shorts exploring our relationship to the place we call home – from a block of unfinished flats in Yerevan dedicated to the legacy of the USSR, to the enriching air of Armenia’s salt mines.
- 26 May 2022, Klassiki, online.
Bon Voyage, Garegin Papoyan, 2020. Accompanied by an interview with the director and Nora Martirosyan in the Klassiki Journal.
Garegin Papoyan captures the absurd ironies of a community defined by a frozen military conflict in this wry observational documentary. Fully equipped for accommodating small civilian flights, the recently rebuilt Stepanakert Airport in the break-away Republic of Artsakh does not operate due to the permanent threat of missile strikes. Unwilling to risk any lives, the airport, nevertheless, remains “open”. The dreary ritual of keeping the standby facility operational turns the workers into a closely-knit family unit, where each individual lives out their personal dreams while continuing to hope for the basic freedoms to cross borders and receive guests.
- 2 June 2022, Armenian Institute, London and Klassiki, online.
UK Premiere. Autumn Sun, Bagrat Oganesyan, 1977. Introduced by Vigen Galstyan of the NCCA and Tatevik Ayvazyan of the Armenian Institute.
The season closes with a thrilling opportunity to introduce UK audiences to the work of Bagrat Oganesyan and his proto-feminist adaptation of one of Armenia’s most famous novellas. Hailing from the same author of We Are Our Mountains, Autumn Sun tells the story of a girl cajoled into marriage with a much older man and her journey to make a meaningful life for herself in a rural village. Shot through with extraordinary cinematography by Gagik Avakyan and Karen Mesyan, and boasting a powerhouse performance by Anida Gukasyan, Autumn Sun is an undiscovered classic of late 70s Armenian cinema.