1988, Germany, 35 mm, 96 min, color and b/w,



The film is dedicated to the Armenian monk and genius composer Komitas, and the 2 million victims on his people in Turkey in 1915.

The final 20 years of Komitas life were spent in various mental hospitals.

The destiny of Komitas? This is the magic beauty of Armenian culture and the abhorrent brutality of Armenian history.

A cultural and artistic world that was slaughtered with a curved knife.

A humanity that doggedly advances towards an apocalyptic catastrophe, that does not recognize its own original purpose, eradicates its own memory, its final roots


Guided by pain, l extend my hand and it thrusts against them. The souls of 2 million murdered circle over your and my head, over Ararat...

Tobacco, from which the "Camel" cigarette has been made, that l am just lighting, reflecting on written phrases, grow out of the cracked skull of my grandfather, who perished in Erzurum.

On October 10,1984, l sat in the kitchen of our apartment in Berlin, opposite me, on the electrical fuse box, stood the angel and looked at me through the leaves of a philodendron plant, l raised my head and it was no longer there.

Then they both appeared. more...

The Harvard Film Archive about the film


The monk Soghomon Soghomonian, known as Komitas, was a renowned Armenian composer and conductor who became a symbol of Armenian cultural unity through his orchestral and choral performances and his late nineteenth-century travels throughout the countryside, in which he collected peasant songs for generations eager to preserve their cultural heritage. In 1915, however, the musician’s career ended abruptly after a nervous breakdown precipitated by the Ottoman Empire’s devastation of an estimated three-fourths of the country’s population. Wracked with pain and subjected to the abuses of nineteenth-century psychiatric hospitals, Komitas lost his mind and withdrew into his own world of tortured memories for more than twenty years. Director Askarian dedicates his beautifully constructed, ambitious, and impressionistic portrait of Komitas to those who lost their lives.

Prizes: Interfilm-Jury-Price - Max-Ophuls-Price Fest.'89; 6 Gold-Medals - Film Festival Venice '88; Prizewinner at Riga Film Festival '90.


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