For our third annual Women’s Day Screening, Kino Klassika is proud to present young Armenian Filmmaker Maria Saakyan’s remarkable debut film, Mayak (2006). The film is introduced by broadcaster and film critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh and supported by our friends at Second Run DVD and the Boghossian Foundation. The film unfolds with a dream-like emphasis on vision and sound and follows the story of a young woman, Lena (Anna Kapaleva), who returns to her home in a remote, war-ravaged Armenian village to try and persuade her grandparents to leave with her for safety in Moscow.
The Lighthouse is a deeply affecting film that deftly weaves together personal and social history to explore a rarely seen and particularly turbulent period of history in the Caucasus. The film traces the impact of war on a village community where the villagers are moved to fear, desperation and distress. But they are also proud, resilient and determined to survive the best way they know how.
Kino Klassika is proud to present this film on 7th March as our third International Women’s Day screening. The Lighthouse was the first film to be completed by a woman in Armenia since the inception of the Armenian film industry in the early 1920s, and Saakyan stands out as a lone female voice in a very male-dominated profession. When considered in those terms, Saakyan’s film also functions as a lighthouse itself, shedding light upon the stories of a community who lived through that perilous period of war and their struggle, providing the world at large with a previously unseen perspective.
In structure, the film is particularly dream-like and intensely poetic. It is here where comparisons are made to Andrei Tarkovsky. And like Tarkosky’s films, the film is framed in the naturalistic palette of black, grey and green. When bright colours appear they jar because the film is shot in such a way as to have an old-fashioned, washed-out quality, like old film stock or bleached photographs. This is a double irony since the film was one of the first of its generation to be shot digitally. And another reason why, with only two 35mm prints in existence, the film is in urgent need of rescue and restoration.
A DCP of the partially restored print will be screened as Kino Klassika’s annual International Women’s Day screening with the kind permission of Mehelli Modi and Second Run DVD. Please contact [email protected] if you would like details.
For more information on Kino Klassika’s third annual Women’s day screening, take a look at our Lighthouse Programme.
“The penultimate shot of the film is of a female refugee silently screaming. With the Lighthouse, Saakyan has finally given her, and thousands like her, a voice.”
– Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, 2019
Maria Saakyan drew international praise for her poetic debut feature The Lighthouse. In just over a decade, she revolutionised her national Armenian film industry and the international standing of Armenian cinema and invented a uniquely poetic language for female interiority. Saakyan’s films brought this earthy, ordinary mystery to the screen. Notable works include The Lighthouse (2007), I’m Going to Change My Name (2012), Entropy (Entropiya)(2013)
Chief Film Critic, Metro
For over a decade Larushka Ivan-Zadeh has been Chief Film Critic at Metro, the UK’s most-read daily newspaper. She is also a broadcaster who appears regularly across the BBC as well as Sky News. Larushka has served on numerous film juries including the BAFTA EE Rising Star Award and the British Independent Film Awards. She is a contributor to the Rough Guide to Cult Movies and presents the BBC Film podcast Mind the Gap.