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Day three at Golden Apricot Festival in Yerevan


Armenian French actor/Director Serge Avedikian introducing new french documentary on French artists of Armenian background


Finally a good day -- three very good films so far and another, a Secret screening coming up.  The one that just finished was a tremendous French documentary about Armenian artists, film , dance, and musicians, born and raised in France but searching for their Armenian identify and heritage through art. Long interview with Serge Avedikian and both of his sons is nearly a film by itself. There is also an extended interview with Canadian Armenian Atom Egoyan and another with French director Robert Guédiguian and his actress wife with numerous clips from their films. . This was the world première.

Before that it was the Agnes Varda Autobigraphical Confessional, "Agnes par Agnes" which premiered this year at Berlin but I missed it there.

The first 2/3. are fascinating when she was on her own trip contempo-raneous with but outside of the Nouvelle Vague of the sixties with unique films such as 'Cléo from 5 to 7" or 'Le Bonheur", but it bogs down in the last part when she stopped making films, around age eighty, and started going into installations such as houses made from used film stock, which to me got to be a little boring. With her remarks throughout on the art and processes of filmmaking this film is practically a master class on the subject in addition to a vivid self portrait of a most unusual career. At one amusing point she managed to get Robert De Niro to do a scene in a carnival boat with Jeanne Moreau and plunge unto the water. She is ninety when seen in the film and passed away soon after on  29 May of this year. Quite a woman!

Before that the Wojciech Has super masterpiece, Farewells (Pożegnanie) with young Tadeusz Janczar and the marvelously naturalistic actress Maria Wachowiak plus an early appearance of the great Polish actor Gustaw Holoubek   More on that one later.  But this  is a sublime early chef d'oeuvre with an absolutely magical Wachowiak in 1958.

Finally at ten PM the secret film screening is announced.

Turns out to be the French Israeli oddball satire from Berlin entitled  Synonymes focusing on a young Israeli army deserter who somehow got to Paris where he refuses to speak a single word of Hebrew and wants only to become French. Yoav is sure that Israel will perish before he does.

Walks around town reciting French synonyms as he struggles to master the language.  Good photography but extremely blunt ramrod execution. Walkout about halfway through and even that was too much.

But 3.5 films in one day, three of them very good, adds up to a good day at this not very sophisticated or guest friendly festival.

I still have no catalogue, no festival bag, no invitation to the closing ceremony, and no reduced price ticket for lunch at the ARTBRIDGE Srjaran,  which, of course, all other so called  "festival guests" do have.

Only -- which can provide better coverage and far wider publicity for GAIFF than all the other "press guests" (Iran, Georgia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, et al.) combined -- and the only one that does so in English! -- is for some unfathomable reason left Out in The Cold.  No hotel accommodations. No festival catalogue. No nothing.

I doubt that will bother having this festival covered again in future -- as it has been copiously covered by this writer since 2015.  Talk about ungratefulness and ignorance!

One gets the impression that Yerevan GAIFF doesn't care if none but their immediate neighbors even know that they exist.  Small wonder that Armenian films and fimmakers (and vital Armenian issues) remain all but unknown in the unconcerned outside world beyond the Lahmajun barriers.
After screening of "Film armenia(s): time for artists" with Anahit dasseux ter Mesropian, scenarist of the film. She told me it was fourteen years in preparation. The result is astounding! - A documentary landmark.

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