Amerikatsi: Film on Armenian repatriate honored with silver award at Geneva International Oriental Film Festival

Director Michael Goorjian’s film “Amerikatsi” received the Silver FIFOG 2023 award at the Geneva International Oriental Film Festival (FIFOG), the National Cinema Center informs.

The film tracks the story of Armenian-American Charlie, who repatriates to Armenia In 1947, only to end up in a Soviet prison. Hopeless and alone, he discovers he can see into a nearby apartment from his cell window, where a native Armenian man, unaware that he is being watched, slowly reveals the soul of Armenia hidden behind the iron curtain.

As a young boy, Charlie escaped the Armenian genocide by stowing away in a trunk bound for the United States. His family was not so lucky. Despite his tragic start, as an adult, Charlie has managed to maintain his child-like wonder for the world. However, like so many refugees and orphans, there’s a hole in Charlie’s big heart.

In 1947, Charlie repatriates back to Armenia only to be greeted by the harsh reality of Soviet Communism. The soul of Armenia has been suffocated beneath the iron curtain. Almost immediately Charlie is arrested for the absurd crime of wearing a tie by a jealous Russian Commander, DMITRY, whose wife, SONA, has taken an liking to him. To further ensure Charlie doesn’t influence other prisoners with his “cosmopolitan” ways, he is placed in solitary confinement.

Just as he appears to be succumbing to the terror of his situation, Charlie discovers that the prison wall outside his cell window had been damaged during a recent earthquake. And through a hole he can see into a nearby apartment building… 

The Armenian couple who live in the apartment, TIGRAN and RUZAN, become Charlie’s only connection to the outside world. Every chance he gets he watches them, living vicariously through the details of their private lives, sharing meals with them, laughing, crying, singing and dancing with them. All the while discovering the Armenian culture he never knew. Charlie begins to care deeply for Tigran, sympathizing with this Soviet Armenian who has been forced to suppress his passion for music, food, art and life. But then, in an unexpected twist of fate, Tigran discovers that Charlie has been watching him, to Charlie’s surprise, Tigran does not report him, but instead allows Charlie further into his world.

Through these two prisoners of circumstance, our belief in love and magic is revived and Charlie ultimately finds what he came to Armenia in search of … a homeland.

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