The Romanticists (2014) – a review.

The Romanticists is the first Armenian film I’ve ever viewed.
My misguided expectation of films from that area of the world are very slow-paced across a barren landscape. But The Romanticists is more concentrated and with a pace that gains speed in conjunction with the narrative.

A group of friends have a farewell party for one of their own who is off to Hollywood to break into the big time.   But at the party, as the night goes on and the welcomed and unwelcomed guests interact, political beliefs rise to the surface.
The farewell , it seems, was the beginning of an uncontrollable night.

The final 20 minutes of the film contrast sharply to the earlier scenes.
I was particularly taken by the film’s finale which cleverly exhausts the characters but still breathes life into the story.  My understanding of Armenia history and politics is non-existent, but despite not fully identifying with the issues affecting the characters,  I could still empathise with their frustrations and motivations.

The Romanticists premiered at the Goteberg International Film Festival in January 2014.
It is the first feature film of director/writer Areg Azatayan and Shoghik Tadevosyan and there is something there to suggest a visit to future films they create.
I suspect this film about a farewell, is for them, the beginning of a strong voice in Armenian cinema.

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– Rhett Bartlett.

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