THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON

A film by NARINE MKRTCHYAN and ARSEN AZATYAN

THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON

Synopsis

This is the story of a family in which the father is a wise, rich man, the eldest son is a well-off businessman, the youngest is still searching for himself, and the middle son is the prodigal. That is, prodigal according to those who think they are the only right-minded people, who judge and accuse others in cold blood.

The prodigal son, after running away from his father’s home, has been flitting about, trying to find some purpose in his life, just like his namesake. But he has not succeeded: he has been defeated; years have been lost and opportunities missed. And now he is trying one more time to start again but his relatives and neighbours will not give him a second chance.

 

DESTINY WITHOUT DESTINATION

Well known film director Atom Egoyan , giving his positive opinion about the film of creative couple Arsen Azatyan and Narine Mrktchyan said that „The Return of the prodigal son“ , based on beutiful photography of landscapes, tells us more about „present state of Armenian soul.“

Psichological dramma of pugnent atmosphere, opens to the audiance a view to milleu very similar to Balkan and Serbian, in which conservative beleifs diminish chances for sympathy for one who betrayed traditional family values and principles.

After few years of wandering, son Vahe returns to wealthy family house in Yerevan, but reactions of the memebers of the family leave a little hope that he will be accepted again.His years are wasted, and chances missed. Family roles has been shared between those who sacrificed their own personal wishes and hopes, and Vahe’s arrival threats to show them that all their sacrifices were useless. Therefore, resistance, hatred and fear raise where we would expect love, nostalgic feelings and compassion.

Using almost theatrical form, with subtle music scores, and very slow rhythms, directors of the movie „The Return of the prodigal son“ put up universal questions about identity, family relations, decisions and challenges of freedom.

„Why haven’t you thought of us during the war? “members of the family comment, leaving prodigal son to questions on which he has no answer. Serbian audiance can also through this question be painfully remainded on recent wars, where thousands of people, some of them very young escaped from civil battles.

This film deserves all compliments for overall impression-because it proves that with minimalistic and precisely executed scenes we can reach to universal meanings about loss of identity and unfullfilled hopes for harmony with world, discovering that it is also founded deep in family connections.

At the end of the film, looser Vahe leaves hometown, the same way of loneliness, danger and allienation that he came. The scene is almost soundless, but still we can hear an distant echo… “Don t ask for whome the bell tolls, it tolls for you“. In modern Armenia, as well as in the rest of the world, the bell tolls for one who tried to save himself leaving to travel, to wander for life.

Milica Lapcevic,

RTV STUDIO B

Belgrade Film Festival Chronicle 2009

Belgrade, Serbia

Cradled by stunning images of landscape and nature, this is one of the deepest contemporary films to deal with the current state of the Armenian soul.

Wars are fought, families are broken, yet there is a resilience and possibility of renewal.

Atom Egoyan

 

The Retrun of the Prodigal Son by Armenian directors Nariné Mkrtchyan and Arsen Azatyan is a well made chamber piece that takes place over the course of one evening as a man returns to his homeland and to his fathers house after many years abroad. He returns to the house just as the family is getting together, and he receives very different reactions from his siblings, friends and ex-girlfriends. He is accused not only of betraying and abandoning his family, but also his country during a war.

In that sense The Return of the Prodigal Son can be seen as specifically Armenian – a country with many immigrants – but in a broader, more universal, sense the film can also be seen as concerning immigrants all over the world who are trying to return to the place that they once called home.

Hynek Pallas

film journalist and critic from Sweden

 

The film “The Return of The Prodigal Son” by Narine Mkrtchyan and Arsen Azatyan possesses superior artistic value. The authors seem to have furtively observed the nooks and corners of the human soul, put a spotlight on the inner world of their protagonists, through silence and meaningful pauses, earnest expressions, through highlighting the wonderful ethnic ambience and environment. Alongside its dramatic axis and the director’s insights, the movie has a spiritual dimension that the authors have infused into the imagery. This is a new vision, representative of Armenian cinematography. It is utterly national, at the same time setting forth universal human issues: it evokes intense emotions and sympathy towards the plight of the heroes.

The world premiere of the “Return of the prodigal son” took place here at the 13th Pusan International Film Festival, where it gained remarkable acclaim.

Jay Jeon

Movie Critic

Director of Busan International Film Festival

FESTIVALS

2008 IFF Busan

2009 IFF Gothenburg

2009 IFF Belgrade

2009 IFF Moscow

2009 IFF Romania

2009 IFF Kolkatta

2009 IFF Kottbus

2009 IFF Fajr

2016 IFF Yerevan

CAST & CREW

Title

THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON

Filmmaker

Narine Mkrtchyan, Arsen Azatyan

World Premiere

Busan International Film Festival 2008

Country

Armenia

Year

2008

Medium

35mm

Length

88′

Language

Armenian

Producer

Narine Mkrtchyan, Arsen Azatyan

Production Company

Aysor-Plus Film Productions

Sales

Aysor-Plus Film Productions

Writer

Narine Mkrtchyan, Arsen Azatyan

Cinematography

Arto Khachaturyan

Editor

Nariné Mkrtchyan, Arsen Azatyan

Cast

Armen Jigarkhanyan, Michael Janibekyan, Karen Janibekyan, Nerses Hovhannisyan, Ara Deghtrikyan, Narek Nersisyan

Music

Maren Marais, Armenian Folk Music, Sayat-Nova

Sound Design

Narine Mkrtchyan, Arsen Azatyan

Sound Operator

Armen Sahakyan

Sound Mixer

Dmitry Nagorny

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