From Tamara Stepanyan's feature-length doc "Those From The Shore," winner of LFF 2018's best doc prize.
Photo courtesy of LFF
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Tamara Stepanyan's 2017 documentary "Those from the Shore" defies such expectations.The sole feature-length film to win a prize at the 2018 Lebanese Film Festival tells a story of westward migration that Armenians reckon to be at least a century old.Focusing on interviews with Armenian families awaiting landed immigrant status in Marseille, the film keeps history in the background, telling the migration story with a mix of empathy and formal beauty.Two Armenian women re-enact the interview that all emigrants to France must face: When did you come?The opening snippet of conversation is followed by a slow montage of monochrome vignettes snowy hills, misty mountains, still-life shots of empty rooms, sea waves suggesting a journey that doesn't need literal depiction.From this point forward, the film is mostly preoccupied by the testimonials of the handful of Armenian families Stepanyan interviewed for the film. Some immigration applicants are taken to an exhibition that includes photos and documents from a past generation of Armenian migrants.Most of "Shore" is in luminous black-and-white. Only briefly when a parent has been asked if she has any mental images of Armenia does Stepanyan indulge in color footage. Some of the most amusing, and affecting, interviews are with the kids.
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