The film “The Chronicle of Yerevan Days” is unique in the way it uses city ambience as a narrative technique. Set in the capital of Soviet Armenia, Yerevan, it features a peculiar spatial narrative through location shooting and portrayal of historical buildings. As a result, history materializes and overbears humans. In this paper, I draw on the ideas and theories of Mallet-Stevens, Ockman, Schwarzer and Vaz da Costa about architecture and film and suggest there is an interactive dynamics between history and narrative in the film – each shaping the other. I argue that the narrative constructs story using a particular historically charged iconography. History is manifested in form of urban space and architecture and mutely tells about the past and narrates the present and the actual moment. Figuring as a narrative, history is a fact, and the protagonist’s attempts to obliterate historical facts are futile, because the solid stone buildings and the non-embraceable urban environment are beyond him.Yerevan maintains history and “writes” history – buildings “guard” facts that shape people’s destinies, while streets and squares control the characters' movement and determine accidents and happenstances. The building of the National Archive of Armenia, built in 1901, is the inanimate antagonist. A mixture of styles - ancient Armenian and European / Russian classicism – it reinforces the presence of history as an invincible force, as well as it safeguards citizens’ “identities and biographies,” which traumatize them and ruin their lives, through the archives reveal the truth.
Shmavon Azatyan, La Trobe University, Australia
Stream: Visual Communication
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