Moving Mountains: The Centenary of Armenian Cinema
Screening Dates
  • June 18, 2023 6:30

Malayan’s film has a sense of deep human feeling, a sense of the possibilities of gathering strength from one’s community while maintaining the ability to defy that community.”

David Overbey, Toronto Festival of Festivals

Henrik Malyan belongs to a generation of directors whose films came to typify the post-war New Wave of the Armenian screen. Made from a critical and contemplative perspective, Malyan’s work furtively foregrounds issues of oppression and resistance in the context of Soviet cultural hegemony through a nuanced combination of linguistic games and methodically composed mise-en-scène. The elliptical, irony-infused tone of his early work gave way to more classically structured approaches in later productions, such as his immensely popular adaptation of Vahan Totovents’s biting social satire, A Piece of Sky. Set in a small, turn-of-the-century Armenian town, the film follows Torik, a naive, socially inept orphan who is adopted by his childless relatives and forced into the craft of donkey saddlemaking. When his mother fails to find him a prospective bride, Torik falls in love and marries a visiting sex worker, sparking the ire and scorn of the townsfolk.

In Armenian with English subtitles