The Essence of “Armenian Soul” is Explored in STONE TIME TOUCH, a Poetic, Acclaimed Documentary

Disclaimer; I received this DVD for free in exchange for my review, I have not been compensated in any other way.

Winner of “Best Documentary” at the Warsaw International Film Festival, STONE TIME TOUCH, from acclaimed filmmaker Gariné Torossian, explores the lives of a trio of Canadian Armenians originally from Lebanon where the survivors of the Armenian Genocide regrouped after 1915, offering rich contrasting views of their homeland — as it was imagined and as it appears to them in person. Balancing personal stories with a look at the country’s complex and turbulent history and colorful present, the film places the notion of homeland in the spotlight and examines it from multiple points of view.

Weaving together a poetic collage of memory, loss, and expectation of both a real and imagined Armenia, the diary-like doc follows a young woman’s journey to her homeland, interwoven with photographs and the reflections of leading Armenian actress Arsinée Khanjian, who sets off for the country of her ancestors in order to discover the true essence of the “Armenian soul.” The entries in her travel diary loosely tie in with the individual chapters of the film, in which, among other things, we visit the town of Gyumri 18 years after the terrible earthquake, the ancient church of Hrispine and an ethnographic museum in Sardarabat. Far more than a traditional travelogue, STONE TIME TOUCH  is  more an emotive and freely assembled mosaic depicting the diverse face of Armenia.

Using a dynamic editing style, Torossian includes black-and-white archival footage, fragments from family albums, colored filters, out-of-focus shots and captivating compositions of the Armenian landscape. The beautifully haunting voices of the Armenian-American à capella folk trio Zulal underscore the emotional connection the women share to a land that is and is not theirs, resulting in an elegiac and sensory investigation into the concepts of home, identity and place. 

Check the Trailer for “STONETIME TOUCH” on Youtube

One of the leading voices of feminist diasporic cinema of the past 25 years, Torossian has earned accolades the world over for her body of work. Tim McSorley, Executive Director of the Canadian Film Institute says, “In a national culture seemingly obsessed with identity, the careening, intense, arresting works of Gariné Torossian are poetic cinematic searches for and expressions of those very elusive notions of belonging and identification that make her an idiosyncratic yet quintessentially Canadian artist. Formally freewheeling and merging the visual languages of Super 8, 35mm, and video, her body of work is one of the most startling and original to have emerged in Canada over the last decade and a half.”   BONUS FEATURES 

  • Bonus Short Film: Girl from Moush — – (Director Gariné Torossian | Approx 6 mins. | 1993 | Canada) Girl From Moush is a poetic montage of the artist’s journey through her subconscious Armenia. It is not an Armenia based in a reality but one, which appears, like the mythical city of Shangri-La, when one’s eyes are closed. A mesh of traditional images “engraved” in film, with haunting voice-over, and rich colors, music and rhythms that continues long after the film is over.
  • Bonus Short Film: My Own Obsession – (Director Gariné Torossian | 15 mins. | 1998 | Canada) — A film interested in the implications of identity and the archeology of those mental layers that represent our identities. It is a journey through the identity of an Armenian-Canadian woman during a specific period, which is documented through interviews with various individuals about their encounters and experiences with the protagonist. The line between documentary and fiction is blurred.

PROGRAM INFORMATION Type: DVD/Digital (Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google) Running Time: 72 minutes Genre: World Cinema/Documentary Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Audio: Stereo Language:  Armenian with English Subtitles and English

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