Siranush Galstyan / Difference Screen / Naregatsi Art Institute

Film critic Siranush Galstyan reflects on Difference Screen at Naregatsi 8.7.2014

Film is always some private look, a view of life. And it means difference of views… During its existence cinematography became an archive of mankind that is fixing and keeping the human memory. What do we feel when see a photograph or a film, which represents a place that does not exist anymore or has changed so much that one can not recognize it? A Polish pharmacy that disappeared during war. We watched it on the screen with confused feelings. Pharmacy still exists in the film, on the screen but not in factual actuality…

Among different films that were screened almost non-stop at Naregatsi Art Institute I would like to distinguish a film Walk of the Three Chairs performing a Serbian song like a ritual; and in some sense the ironical and surrealistic documentary Hollywood shot in Georgia.

Monuments of communist leaders that seemed “eternal” at the time, but fortunately were removed successfully after the collapse of the Soviet system… Historical context can be accepted as similar for all post-Soviet people and not only for them. Cult of leaders by means of big monuments, portraits; churches transformed into cinema or cultural clubs… All these are sad signs, emblems of that era. When the system was destroyed we could observe the opposite process: a cinema that transformed into a church…

What makes the difference between things and views? When we find a likeness between some occurrences in different parts of world, right then the differences appear. Just we notice the differences and at that very moment some community of phenomenon appears…

I kept in my mind also a film Russian KAMA3 where a man and young woman were standing beside a car. It was like freeze frame as they were waiting too long to be pictured by a photo camera, but indeed, they were shot by video… It is really funny for nowadays. On the other hand, it recalled an episode from the first full-length Russian film Defense of Sevastopol which also contains documentary footage. In that episode we can see real heroes of war who stand immovable behind the camera, because they think that their photos would be taken soon. At that time, in 1911 they have no idea about film-making… And now, about 100 years later, we could watch almost the same situation. So, likeness and difference of the screens and times!

Siranush Galstyan

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