Friday, March 18, 2005


FR (c) 1991 Carthago Films and four other companies. P: Tarak Ben Ammar. D+SC: Henri Verneuil based on his novel. M: Jean-Claude Petit. Starring Claudia Cardinale (Araxi, Mayrig), Omar Sharif (Hagop), Isabelle Sadoyan (Anna), Nathalie Roussel (Gayane), Jacky Nercessian (Apkar), Cédric Doucet (Azad at 7), Tom Ponsin (Azad at 12), Stéphane Servais (Azad at 20). 133 min. A beautiful Quinta Communications print, original in French, e-subtitles in Finnish by Lena Talvio. Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 17 March 2005. Emotionally powerful autobiographical story by Henri Verneuil (Achod Malachian, 1920-2002), his love letter to his mother/mayrig, on his childhood in Marseille, with "three mothers": mayrig and her two sisters, whose love carried him through hardship and bigotry. Also an essential Armenian story, compressing the tragedy of the Armenian people after the 1915 Turkish genocide, where a million Armenians were massacred. Basic, emotionally involving storytelling, based on a good script, memorable ideas, Claudia Cardinale is somewhat distant. ***+

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