CINEMA of ARMENIA: An Overview
by Siranush Galstyan
An English language study of the cinema of Armenia, in twelve chapters with an appendix on animation. Chapter 1 explores the birth of cinema in Armenia in 1899 with a screening in Yerevan and provides the setting for the following survey. Chapter 2 is dedicated to the founder of the Armenian cinema, Hamo Beknazaryan, whose work represents an entire era not only of Armenian but also in Soviet cinema, since his name stands alongside those of Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Dovzhenko, and other great filmmakers. Chapter 3 concerns other works created during the silent period in Armenia. Chapter 4 discusses the processes of Armenian cinema in the Stalin era, broadly covering the period from 1930 to 1959. New filmmakers appeared on the stage during those years. The role of the short film genre is mentioned, as well as films that were shelved by Soviet censorship. Chapter 5 analyzes the most significant films for the subsequent rise of Armenian cinema as well as musical films. Chapters 6 and 7 are devoted to prominent filmakers, Sergei Parajanov and Artavazd Peleshyan, subjecting their works to theoretical and morphological analyses. Chapter 8 is about Armenian documentary cinema and its unique traditions. Chapter 9 deals with the theme of World War II in Armenian cinema. Chapter 10 focuses on the creative search during the 1970s for variety in style and genre, which increased film production. The films of Henrik Malyan and Frunze Dovlatyan are singled out in the discussion, and the most famous films of those years and their international recognition are examined. Chapter 11 explores the work of filmmakers who left their trace on Armenian cinema during the 1970s and 1980s, representing the way of thinking of a new generation and their films, and the successful adaptations of classical works. The chapter also offers a summary of Armenian cinema of the Soviet period. Finally, chapter 12 deals with feature films and documentaries of the post-Soviet era (1990-2010), exploring changes of consciousness and representations of national identity in films of the new era, as well as the international recognition of some films.