Michael Goorjian’s Oscar Contender Could Change Armenia

Michael Goorjian’s Oscar Contender Could Change Armenia

Armenia has been submitting films for the Best International Feature Film Oscar here and there since 2001, but never has the West Asian country been nominated. This year, that could change with Michael A. Goorjian‘s hopeful fable of Soviet Armenia, “Amerikatsi.” For the first time, Armenia’s Oscar committee got their film on the shortlist of 15, thanks to a groundswell of support that started at the Woodstock Film Festival last year, and with the trumpeting of Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Atom Egoyan.

Many multi-hyphenates star in films they directed in service of getting the movie made at all. For actor and writer/director Goorjian, the Bay Area-born artist whose father was Armenian and whose paternal grandparents survived the Armenian genocide in World War I, it only made sense to play Charlie Bakhchinyan himself. In “Amerikatsi,” Charlie is an Armenian-American who repatriates to his homeland in 1948, when Armenia was in thrall to Soviet Communism. Returning to his native country, Charlie is swiftly arrested under the Kafkaesque charge of wearing a tie, and from his tiny prison cell window, watches an Armenian couple, Tigran and Sona, who begin to invite him into their lives from across the way.

Looking at the films Armenia typically submits to the Oscars, they tend to revolve around the Armenian genocide in one way or another (see 2022’s animated documentary “Aurora’s Sunrise”). With “Amerikatsi,” Goorjian sought to make a film…

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The post “Michael Goorjian’s Oscar Contender Could Change Armenia – IndieWire” by Ryan Lattanzio was published on 01/11/2024 by www.indiewire.com