This Saturday 24, two Brazilian directors launch their second film which has Armenia as an unusual object.
“Corners of a Holy Book” focuses on the vertigo that marks this country of the Caucasus, whose millennial history is now best known for the recent difficulties that have marked it – from the genocide of 1915 to the military defeat in 2020 for the Neighboring Azerbaijan, through the effects of the dissolution of the Soviet Union of which it was a part.
The short film by cousins Cassiana Der Haroutiounian and Cesar Gananian of São Paulo, members of the city’s active Armenian community, will be released online exactly on the day the genocide is commemorated. 106 years ago, an estimated 1.5 million Armenian inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire died in a campaign of persecution, massacres and forced deportation to the Syrian desert.
Turkey, heir to the domination of the sultans, has so far denied the existence of such an intention.
Most countries around the world prefer to remain silent, but around 30 countries condemn it, including Brazil. This Saturday, Joe Biden is also expected to be the first US president to do so openly – sometimes along with Ankara the US Congress has already recommended in 2019.
The duo’s film is steeped in the formative melancholy of this modern Armenia, but targets more recent segments of the country’s history, revolving around the 2018 popular uprising that brought down the pro-Moscow government in Yerevan. Shot on three trips before the pandemic, between October 2018 and April 2019, the 26-minute short film has no linear script and is not intended to be documentary.
He captures the sensations in five passages, the so-called songs, which speak in a fragmentary and lyrical way of the circular character of the Armenian drama. It goes through the year of the Great Soviet Sunset Earthquake, 1988, although I am not quoting it directly, and it tells a gruesome story of the “Dark” era – when, after the dissolution of the he communist empire in 1991, the country lacked everything.
It is a perspective with a side and tempered by an emotional and familiar outlook, which does not deal with questionable Armenian actions – as questionable as the Azeris in the war of 1992-94, that laid the roots of the conflict of the year. last. In the most optimistic corner, the so-called “velvet revolution” of 2018, is evoked through a speech by the man who led it, Nikol Pashinyan.
The fact that he became the prime minister who lost the war and almost the entire Nagorno-Karabakh plot against Azerbaijan, falling out of favor, did not deter the directors from keeping him in the film.
“Pashinyan’s speech became a national anthem in Armenia and was the trigger for more than 500,000 people to take to the streets,” said the duo. “We seek to create a reflection on the complexity of a revolution, which results in both destruction and creation.”
Written by his cousins, “Cantos” takes its title from a song by influential Armenian mystic George Gurdjieff (1866? -1949), but his approach to spiritual work is not present.
Cassiana, who worked as a photo editor at Folha and edits the Entretempos blog on the newspaper’s website, and Gananian previously worked on the documentary “Rapsódia Armenia” (2012), with Gary Gananian, who had a successful career in the festival scenario.
The duo will address the public, mediated by the historian and consultant for the short film Heitor Loureiro, in a virtual session after the screening of the film’s preview. The event is free and starts at 8:30 p.m. this Saturday. You need to buy a ticket here.