Friday, December 16, 2011

Mikhail Vartanov

The documentary oeuvre of director Mikhail Vartanov began with the wordless Color of Armenian Land (1969) featuring the world famous behind-the-scenes episodes of Sergei Paradjanov's landmark Sayat Nova (1969).
Vartanov's public support of the imprisoned Paradjanov and the outspoken criticism of Armenia's corrupt film industry resulted in a blacklist shortly thereafter - his films were suppressed, unmentioned by press and banned from submission to foreign film festivals.
In those years, Vartanov exquisitely lensed Artavazd Peleshian's classic Seasons of the Year (1975) and Gennadi Melkonian's comedy The Mulberry Tree (1979). During the collapse of the Soviet Union, Vartanov directed the trilogy Erased Faces (1987), Minas: A Requiem (1989) and Paradjanov: The Last Spring (1992) - his masterpiece - a staggering drama about the man whom the regime persecuted but who stood his ground and triumphed.
The following decade Vartanov spent conducting film and photo experiments in a small Hollywood apartment. He will next appear in Erased Faces II by Martin Vartanov with whom he is producing Evrika, a film based on a method they call "direction of the undirected action."

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