Artavazd Peleshian (b. 1938)
Beginning (1967)
Although Peleshian's style already shows maturity in Earth of People, his official filmography begins with, well, Beginning (Skizbe, 1967). Chronicling the historical events that changed the course of the century following the monumental October Revolution of 1917, Beginning is a powerhouse trip that would definitely rank among the best political films ever made. Running for a mere 10 minute span, Beginning exemplifies Peleshian's preoccupation with mass movement like no other film. Employing an eclectic mixture of photographs, studio shots and documentary footage, manipulating their speed, repeating them regularly and eventually attaining a musical rhythm like the Soviet pioneers', Peleshian emphatically registers our recent history that has been marked by an extraordinary number of uprisings and bloodsheds. Peleshian's soundtrack is remarkable here. Using a combination of highway chase music, gunshots, screams and silence, Beginning shifts gears from a documentary, to an agitprop, to an essay and to an epic in no time. But the true revelation is the ending of Beginning where, after a brief visual and aural pause, Peleshian delivers a moment of epiphany, once again reminiscent of 2001 – an extended close up of a young child staring determinedly into the camera as the soundtrack plays a majestic, Thus Spake Zarathustra-like score. Forget the Star Child, what is the human child going to see in the future?