Young lovers Seyran and Susan meet a tragic fate because of patriarchal prejudices of their parents. Although arranged for marriage in early childhood, and despite youngsters' love, ...
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Young lovers Seyran and Susan meet a tragic fate because of patriarchal prejudices of their parents. Although arranged for marriage in early childhood, and despite youngsters' love, Barkhudar marries his daughter Susan to another man, as a matter of honour. Written by
This was the second Armenian-made feature film. The first was the now almost forgotten Pod vlasyu kurdov (1915) (known in Europe alternatively as "The Tragedy of Turkish Armenia" or "Under The Kurds"), written and directed by A. Minervin, an Armenian living in Russia. See more »
The German counts are well known for their extravagances ( After all, don't we sometimes increase to two the pieces of bread that our servants are condemned to eat in their diet of bread and water? ) so the fact of being able to watch "Namous", the first Armenian silent film, was a great chance to put those bizarre German habits into practice.
"Namous" was celebrated by the 20's film critics as a film that "for the first time shows a realistic Eastern view" and, to tell the truth, those grandfather film critics of yours were right..
The film, directed by Herr Amo Bek-Nazarov, has a lot of merit because though the film depicts ancient customs and honor codes that are supposed to be part of the Armenian culture, it never falls into the error of being merely picturesque, thanks to the director, it gives a real and correct Anthropological portrait done with a perfect skillfulness of the language of film
The story is of two youngsters engaged to each other when they were children, an arrangement made by their fathers when both families survive a terrible earthquake. The film is very well done, a very emotion laden melodrama that increases in intensity as the story develops. We see little by little how the two youngsters are separated and suffer because of breaking some honor codes ( this German count didn't know that in Armenia the middle classes had a fondness for the same lost virtues as we aristocrats have, although this German count didn't even know where Armenia is.. For us, it is enough to know the way to Baden-Baden ).
In "Namous" the audience can see the spirit, tradition and culture of a nation, all comprehensible thanks to the director's skillfulness. He makes us understand the reasons for those ancient, centuries-old customs, cutting between those and other social divisions ( the struggle between different social classes, ah, the everlasting problem!... ) He is not uncritical of those customs and even manages to bring a little humor to the story.
"Namous"is for all these reasons a very remarkable film, exotic to a German aristocrat but one that depicts an original view of the virtues and contradictions of the Armenian culture and does so without the simplicity or distortions that usually accompany Western film views when dealing with an Eastern culture.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because all this Eastern exoticism has inspired this German count to take balalaika lessons.
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