Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   20 January

Peleshyan’s reasons of silence were not revealed in film “Peleshyan’s Silence”: Peleshyan meets with admirers

YEREVAN, JULY 29, ARMENPRESS. A packed hall, endless applauses and standing ovations, words of praise and love. Artavazd Peleshyan’s admirer’s had a possibility of meeting with the famous and beloved director and screenwriter, and watching his films. A meeting with Artavazd Peleshyan was organized at “Moscow” cinema house on July 28 with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia and on the initiative of “Ordfilm” film production company and “Moscow” cinema house. “Inhabitants”, “Seasons”, “The Life” and “The End” of the renowned documentarian were shown, then the attendees had a possibility of addressing their questions to the director. Armenpress presents the most remarkable parts of the meeting.

Artavazd Peleshyan speaks about the most important first work

I’d tell the young directors to pay special attention to their first work. That is the most important thing.

A possibility of changing something in the films

Probably I wouldn’t change anything. I was growing a moustache when I was younger. What’s the use of destroying that picture?

The new film wasn’t made because of financial problems

I wrote the script titled “Armenian Land” but the film wasn’t made because of different reasons, first of all the financial ones.

 “Bit players””crowd shot”

There’s an interesting story connected with “Seasons”: when we were screening the film, I sent the administrator and the cameraman to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia to find out if there was any village far away from civilization in Armenia that still preserved the old customs. The Ministry found out that there was such a village in Zangezur gorge and the village in its turn found out that Soviet practices had been established. We decided to go there; we could hardly find the path.  The village was in the gorge, there were 10-12 houses. We went on foot, there was no road for a car but the driver said he would take us. The car got broken, we reached the place. Three old man, sitting around the fire, were making vodka. We greeted them, they got surprised at our car, we told them we wanted to make a film, they wondered at what film is, we were interested and left the place in 2 days. 

 When we were shooting a crowd scene, the faces of the people were not visible, they got 3 rubles. There were also this “bit players’ that got 7 rubles, 50 copeck. These old men were to be in the crowd shot, and one of the old men said: ”I’m a bit player”.

Peleshyan’s silence - unrevealed

 It seemed to me that in the film “Peleshyan’s Silence” the reasons of my silence will be revealed. But the director of that film learnt from me and got silent.

 Artavazd Ashoti Peleshyan was born February 22, 1938, Leninakan. He is an Armenian director of film-essays, a documentarian in the history of film art, and a film theorist. However, his work  is not 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 life transferred onto film.

In the words of the filmmaker Sergei Parajanov, Peleshyan is "one of the few authentic geniuses in the world of cinema". Renowned Master of the Armenian SSR arts title (1979).

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 people 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 Conner, 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.

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