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 »



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

As Donald Richie points out, Japanese cinema lacks the pedigree of an innate nonfiction tradition, and the documentary, he argues, “has nothing like the influence it has had in other countries.” In that backdrop, where approximating reality is hardly the privileged mode it is elsewhere, the output of the film collective known as Ogawa Productions, then, comes as something of a shock. Uncompromising in politics, confrontational in form, and produced on the sparest of budgets, their films represent the tireless work ethic of not only the eponymous producer Ogawa Shinsuke, but also a large group of his devoted collaborators (or followers, depending on how you look at it). Read the rest of this entry »