Moving Mountains: The Centenary of Armenian Cinema
Screening Dates
  • June 18, 2023 8:20

Despite its initial feminist inclinations, Soviet Armenian cinema remained a realm of male-dominated narratives and visions that rarely put women in the driver seat. The second feature by Andrei Tarkovsky’s one-time assistant, Bagrat Hovhannisyan, was a singular exception where the heroine not only speaks her mind, but methodically exposes the barbarity of the world constructed by men. Based on an autobiographical novella by the screenwriter Hrant Matevosyan, Autumn Sun follows a day in the life of Aghun, an acerbic matriarch in a tiny mountain village who prepares to visit her eldest son and his bride in the capital. Throughout the film, Aghun unleashes her exasperation at anyone who crosses her path, while ruminating on her struggles to survive, build a home, and make something of herself despite a loveless marriage and the stifling parochialism of rural community. A director of rare sensitivity, Hovhannisyan imbues this minor episode with the breadth of a Chekhovian tragedy about broken dreams, the imprisoning obligations of family life, and, ultimately, the central role of women as custodians of social relations.

In Armenian with English subtitles