11 June 2014, 14:09
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Documentary Film Screening in Yerevan: An Italian's Travels Armenia

Italian artist Bruno Bruni is in Armenia again, this time to be present at the premiere of a documentary film dedicated to his exhibition.

The premiere of filmmaker, Narek Bakhtamayan’s documentary about the Italian sculptor Bruno Bruni was off to a late start on the warm, June evening.  The journalists were eager to get their questions in to the artist, but despite the excitement, the director greeted offered the crowd a warm welcome.

After the initial enthusiasm wore off, the film began. A few minutes into the film, chuckles could be heard throughout the theater. Bakhtamyan breathed a sigh of releave—laughter, in this context, was a good sign.

An unexpected interruption occurred during the film’s screaning, when an impromptu debate emerged after Minister of Culture, Hasmik Poghosyan, commented on the value of art in versus out of exhibition. She announced that to hide a piece of art is to diminish its value.

The crowd emerged into a vigorous debate chattering, validity of such a claim. A solution was never reached, however, as another reason for disagreement arose after Bakhtamyan made a controversial statement about Armenian artists “start planning their funeral after celebrating their 50th birthday.” The audacious director hinted that locals could learn a thing or two from the Italian sculptor, whose productivity has been impressive even into his older age. The audience, consisting primarily of 50- or 60-somethings were, quite understandably, irked by Bakhtamyan’s implications about their output.

Fortunately for Bakhtamyan, the crowd’s attention shortly returned to the screen, which depicted Bruni discovering Armenia in various ways—walking around Yerevan, dinner in Ohanavan, and cultural excursions around Saghmosavank monastery.

After the screening, Armenian artists discussed Bruno Bruni’s works, including his nuanced use of marble in sculptures and his influences from historical figure, Che Guevara. Bakhtamyan confided to the audience that the filmmakers’ objective was to interfere as little as possible with the sculptor’s visit. However, the film depicted the crew in some bizarre roles, which witnessed Bakhtamyan – always donning a scarf – and his operator assisting with the exposition and even scenes where the young director prepared dinner for Bruni.

The discussion came to a conclusion with the Italian’s confession that his experience in Armenia was profoundly enriching, on both a personal and professional level, voicing a particular attraction to the country’s brandy.

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