BY RACHEL MELIKIAN
Over 700 people were in attendance at the screening of “The Last Inhabitant” organized by the Artsakh Arts and Cultural Foundation at the Alex Theater. Among the attendees were the producer of the movie The Promise, Eric Esrailian, the Consulate General of Armenia in Los Angeles, Minister Plenipotentiary Valery Mkertoumian, Consul Armella Shakaryan, and His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
The film poster describes, “caught between heaven and hell one women’s destiny lies in the crossfire…” showing that the last inhabitant’s, Abgar’s, daughter was lost when the enemy launched hell, however, a dear friend finds her in a psychiatric hospital and brings her back to her father. The Last Inhabitant, set in 1988, is a movie about the Armenians’ struggles in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) during the time of Sumgait massacres.
The central theme of The Last Inhabitant is how the father continues his everlasting love despite hardships. His first hardship includes nurturing his adopted daughter back to a more peaceful life. Secondly, the movie shows the unbreakable friendship between the father and his friend, despite the fact his best friend’s people, Azeris, destroyed his village, Gyurjevan, and massacred all of its people.
The movie mirrors the tragic destiny of Armenians who are perpetually forced to flee their homeland. As Abgar says, “Now I am again on the run.” However, despite all the atrocities, the moral of the story is that Armenians will continue to defend their people and love dearly their ancestral homeland. This is shown in the scene where the last inhabitant stands admiring the panoramic view of his lost paradise.
“The world is unaware of us [Armenians] and our history, so film screenings and the film are commonly significant, as we present our story of universal humanity in this way of art,” said Jivan Avetisyan.
Directed by Jivan Avetisyan, The Last Inhabitant has been screend at the Cannes International Film Festival “Marche du Film,” the 20th Shanghai Int’l Film Festival’s “Panorama” program, and at the Venice Int’l Film Festival -Venice Production Bridge program. It has also been selected for competition at the Scandinavian International Film Festival in Helsinki, Finland to take place end of October.
Serj Tankian, System of a Down, scored its music. At the festivals, The Last Inhabitant had great receptions, where both Chinese and Italians viewers loved the film, according to Avetisyan.
The screening of The Last Inhabitant opened Friday, September 15 at the Americana at Brand in Glendale, and is coming to Costa Mesa and Whittier from September 22-24. The screening at Costa Mesa on September 22 and the screening at Whittier on September 23 will follow with a Q&A following the 8pm premiere. The Americana may add additional screenings. Your support determines the film’s longevity on the big screen.
After the screening there was a panel Q&A moderated by the English editor of Asbarez, Ara Kachatourian. Panelists included director Jivan Avetisyan, System of a Down lead singer Serj Tankian, cast member Anne Bedian, Artsakh Arts and Cultural Foundation chairperson Garo Madenlian, and executive producer Adrineh Mirzayan.
“Honestly, it’s been three years in the making of The Last Inhabitant,” said Mirzayan and now that it’s up on the screen, “filling up the theaters, that’s the biggest challenge in our community. Please tell all your friends, non-Armenians as well.”
“Please spread the word for the success of the Armenian film,” said Madenlian, to “Bring Artsakh to the world, and take the world to Artsakh, and hopefully Artsakh takes back all of its borders. We want the word to get out there and make sure people see it [the film] from Artsakh for Artsakh.”
Avetisyan has also directed another moviee about Artsakh called Tevanik. Tevanik has been screened in more than 25 countries, translated into nine languages, shown at many film festivals, and won many honorary awards. Avetisyan’s upcoming feature film, Gate to Heaven, is tentatively scheduled for production Spring 2018.
You can see The Last Inhabitant at the Americana starting last Friday, September 15 or between September 22-24 at the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas in Costa Mesa and the Starlight Whittier Village Cinemas in Whittier. After the screening, there will be Q&A both in Costa Mesa and Whittier, on September 22 and 23 respectively.