Fiction About Fact: Director hopes “Arakel” will be tool for Genocide recognition

“Arakel”, a new fictional film about the Armenian Genocide, will make its premiere October 15 in Yerevan’s Moscow cinema.

Director and screenwriter Zohrap Bek-Gasparent, of Yerevan follows in the footsteps of director Atom Egoyan (“Ararat”) in using a fictionalized story to tell of a real event that changed the history of a nation.

“It is a difficult and a painful topic to all us, and very few directors have turned to the topic,” Bek-Gasparents told ArmeniaNow. “Films are the most powerful weapon to present our case to the world. We should do everything to have “Arakel” shown in Turkey as well.”

The film is based on the story of Bek-Gasparents’s great uncle, and is about an Armenian family from Adana. The hero of the film – Arakel – falls in love with their housemaid, which was an unacceptable thing for a traditional Armenian family. The young man leaves his home and becomes a recluse.

In 1915 Arakel returns home finding everybody killed ruthlessly save for his brother’s five year old son and his beloved girl. The road of refuge and sufferings begins, but at the same time, their love affair also begins.

“They say the best film about war is the one where there are no shooting,” says the 32-year old director. “My film is a historical melodrama. Of course there are pictures of massacres, but the pivotal issue of the film is the Armenian faith and the idea of survival by means of the power of love.

“Love and faith – these are the major ideas of the film that I show to present the Armenians as Christians, whose first virtue is forgiveness, but only in case the murderer accepts his guilt and asks for apology. If they confess their guilt deeply understanding it, we will forgive for sure.”

The 80 minute film was shot in Stepanavan, Yerevan, Gyumri and near Lake Sevan at a cost of $100,000.

Bek-Gasparents says big desire overcomes small budgets, adding that each Armenian “should do our best, even the impossible, to come closer to the recognition of the Genocide.”

Yerevan actors Karine Janjughazyan, Shahum Ghazaryan, Zaven Abrahamyan play the major roles in “Arakel”; Zareh Bek-Gasparents, the director’s 5-yes-old son, plays Arakel at 5.

“This film will take one step forward toward the solution of the hard issue of recognition of the Armenian Genocide; this is a story of life that embodies the tragedy of a whole nation, its faith and great love,” says Armenian film director Aram Jilavyan.