Peleshyan’s Secret Is In Being Genius: Pietro Marcello


09:45, 11 July, 2013

YEREVAN, JULY 11, ARMENPRESS: The documentary film, telling about the
life and activities of the Armenian renowned film director
Artavazd Peleshyan, Peleshyan’s Silence is among the documentaries
presented at the 10th Golden Apricot Yerevan
International Film Festival. As the Armenpress correspondent was
reported by the director of the film Pietro Marcello, Peleshyan’s
Silence portrays a memory – a memory of his films and of their
creation, a memory of cinema and of its relation with mankind, with
its life, its mind, its emotions and with the unceasing, endless
paths that intertwine one with the other. According to him, seeing
Artavazd Peleshyan’s films for the first time years ago, Pietro
Marcello understood that Peleshyan is the master of his work for
the different generations of film producers. “I consider Peleshyan
to be one of my teachers. I met with him in Moscow. I think I have
done my best in the film, presenting it not as a film but the
Peleshyan’s portrait”, – said the director of the film Pietro

“In reality there are no secrets in his silence. Peleshyan is a
great film director, a great genius. His secret is in his being a
genius”, –
said Pietro Marcello. He told that after seeing Peleshyan he wanted
to come to Armenia very much and has done it in the framework of the
10th Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival.

Pietro Marcello is impressed by the Golden Apricot and considers it
to be a wonderful festival. The world premiere of the Peleshyan’s
Silence documentary took place in September 2011.

The film was rewarded with a special award of the Armenia’s National
Film Center at Hayak Awards in 2013 and was presented at different
film festivals. On July 10 the Peleshyan’s Silence was screened at
the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies.

On July 11 at 19:30 at the Red Hall of the Moscow Cinema the
retrospective screening of Artavazd Peleshyan’s films will be

Artavazd Ashoti Peleshyan (born February 22, 1938, Leninakan) is an
Armenian director of film-essays, a documentarian in the history of
film art, and a film theorist. However, his work, unlike Maya
Deren’s, is neither avant-garde, nor does it try to explore the
absurd. It is also
not really art for art’s sake, like the work of Stan Brakhage, for
instance, but is generally acknowledged, rather, as a poetic view of
transferred onto film.

In the words of the filmmaker Sergei Parajanov, Peleshyan is “one of
the few authentic geniuses in the world of cinema”.

He is renowned for developing a style of cinematographic perspective
known as distance montage, combining perception of depth with
oncoming entities, such as running packs of antelope or hordes of
humans. He has always made extensive use of archive footage, mixed in
with his own shots, with fast inter-cutting between the two.

Telephoto lenses are often used to get “candid camera” shots of
engaging in mundane tasks.

His films are on the border between documentary and feature, somewhat
reminiscent of the work of such avant-garde filmmakers as Bruce
Connor, rather than of conventional documentaries. Most of his films
are short, ranging from a mere 6 minutes long up to about 60 minutes
long. They feature no dialogue. However, music and sound effects play
nearly as important a role in his films as the visual images in
contributing towards the artistic whole. Nearly all of his films were
shot in black and white.

His early films, made he was still a student at VGIK, were awarded
several prizes. To date, 12 films by Peleshyan are known to exist.

Beginning (Skizbe) (1967) is a cinematographical essay about the
October Revolution of 1917. One of the unique visual effects used in
film is achieved by holding snippets of film still on a single frame,
then advancing only for a second or two before again pausing on
another, resulting in a stuttering visual effect. Other important
films by him are We (Menq) (1967, a poetically told history of
Armenia and
its people, and Inhabitant (Obitateli) (1970), a reflection on the
relationship between wildlife and humans. Artavazd Peleshyan’s most
brilliant film is considered, by many critics, to be The Seasons of
the Year (1975). Exquisitely shot by cinematographer Mikhail
Vartanov, it
is an outstanding look at the contradiction and harmony between
humans and nature. It was the last collaboration between Peleshyan
Vartanov, Armenia’s two most important documentary auteurs; they
first worked together on The Autumn Pastoral (1971).

Peleshyan is also the author of a range of theoretical works, such as
his 1988 book, Moyo kino (My Cinema).

Being from a country far away from internationally significant cinema
circles, Peleshyan’s efforts were not properly recognized by critics
of world cinema until very recently. Since the fall of the Soviet
Union, he has been able to make two more short films, Life (1993) and
End (1994). He is now living in Moscow. His most recent film was
edited at the ZKM | Karlsruhe Film Institute in 2005-2006 and has not
been released.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS