Avetik

07/29/2013

Germany & Armenia / 1992 / Armenian

Directed by Don Askarian

With Alik Asatryan, Mikhail Stepanyan, Karen Dzhanibekyan

Still from 'Avetik'How can one, upon viewing Don Askarian’s film Avetik, know precisely what one has been through, and on whose inner journey one has been privileged to ride? Is it Avetik Isahakyan, 20th Century Armenian poet’s? Or is it Askarian, the 20th Century Armenian filmmaker’s? The parallels between the two quickly cease to matter. They are one – and, as we discover, also a multitude of others. History, identity, awakening, are refracted as through quartz crystals – present, magnified, and abstract all at once. Read the rest of this entry »

Tunnel Visions

07/08/2013

Fortress1

Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer in Sanrizuka

As Donald Richie points out, Japanese cinema lacks the pedigree of an innate realist tradition, and the documentary film, he further argues, “has nothing like the influence it has had in other countries.” In that backdrop, where reality is hardly the privileged mode it is elsewhere, the output of the film collective known as Ogawa Productions (Ogawa Pro, for short), then, comes as something of a shock. Uncompromising in their radical politics, confrontational, and produced on the sparest of budgets, the films represent the life’s work of not only the eponymous documentarian Ogawa Shinsuke, but an entire group of his devoted collaborators. Read the rest of this entry »