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Four Seasons (1975)

Vremena goda (original title)
The last collaboration of Artavazd Peleshian and cinematographer Mikhail Vartanov is a film-essay about Armenia's shepherds, about the contradiction and the harmony between man and nature, scored to Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

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"Seasons of the Year" was the last collaboration of Armenia's two most important documentary auteurs: Artavazd Peleshian and Mikhail Vartanov. The first was Autumn Pastoral (1971) written by Peleshian and directed by Vartanov. Peleshian's brilliant "Seasons of the Year" is one of the three most important documentary films made in Armenia along with Sergei Parajanov's Hakob Hovnatanyan (1967) and Vartanov's Parajanov: The Last Spring (1992). "Seasons of the Year" is an outstanding look at the co-existence of nature and people and is the first film made by Peleshian without the use of archival footage thanks to Vartanov's exquisite cinematography and wizardry in the lab. Eight years had passed before Peleshian made another film. Written by PARAJANOV.com

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1975 (Soviet Union)  »

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Four Seasons  »

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Follows Autumn Pastoral (1971) See more »

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indelible images
21 November 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Armenian filmmaker Artavazd Peleshian has already been compared to Dziga Vertov, Bruce Connor, and the young Werner Herzog, but on the evidence of this brief featurette (it's only 30-minutes long) he emerges as a unique, exciting discovery in his own right. His work is almost impossible to describe, except (inadequately) as non-narrative short subjects, a blanket category which says nothing about the visceral impact of both pieces in the program I attended, during the 1987 San Francisco International Film Festival (where 'The Four Seasons' screened alongside Peleshian's 'In the Beginning').

'The Four Seasons' presents a series of hypnotic and powerful images from his native country: of shepherds and their flocks fording a torrential mountain river, and farmers grappling with what look like huge haystacks on a near-vertical mountainside. 'In The Beginning', equally spectacular, is a quick, kinetic flow of brilliantly edited found footage: crowds running; armies colliding; masses in motion, repeated, reversed, and freeze-framed in dizzy choreographed rhythms.

In each film the emphasis is more on the poetry of the montage itself rather than on any premeditated message, making them easy on the eyes as well as fascinating to ponder.


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