Nigol Benzjian


The Poet/Mourner is part of a longer version during which Marc Nichanian, associate professor of the department of Armenian Studies at the Columbia University, New York, presents, analyses, and evaluates the legacy of one of the great Armenian poets, Daniel Varoujan. By doing so, Marc Nichanian advances his theories that poetry is the greatest form of art, and that a poet is the true artist. As such, an artist/poet is a mourner who mourns through philology yet holds the last chance of survival and rebirth by the very act of mourning when everything has been destroyed and demolished, vanished and what was there once is about to be forgotten.

In this 20’-long presentation Marc Nichanian is filmed speaking directly to the camera in a one-on-one engagement with the potential viewer/audience. After a very brief introduction of Daniel Varoujan, Marc appears already commenced in his talk and after a most highly engrossing deliberation we leave him while he still has plenty to say. This creates a very strong sense that there was a lot said before and a lot to be said after what we have watched.

Daniel Varoujan was an Armenian poet foremost, an intellectual orator and teacher, born in 1884 in the Sebastia, or what is today Sivas, in Turkey. He was educated first in Istanbul, then Venice, and eventually Ghent.

In 1915 he was one of the first Armenian intellectuals to be arrested by the Young Turks’ government and sent to internal exile. Six months later, he was brutally killed, only 31 years old. His literary legacy, consisting of four books of poetry, has easily made him one of the most important figures Armenian literature has produced.

The Poet/Mourner is an excerpt from a longer film, Milk, Carnation, and a Godly Song, about Daniel Varoujan’s literary legacy.


Nigol Bezjian



b. 1955, Aleppo, Syria

Lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon. Bezjian studied in the USA where he attended the School of Visual Arts (BFA on Cinema) in New York, and then the UCLA School of Film, Television and Theatre (MFA Cinema). Since his feature film Chickpeas (1992), he has developed his own style of filmmaking, mixing narrative and documentary, achieving distinctly personal and poetic films. He has participated in numerous international film festivals: Golden Apricot Film Festival, Armenia • !f Istanbul Film Festival, Turkey • Ecran Du Real, Lebanon • Costruire il Passato nel Presente, Venice • Building Bridges, Armenia. He has made many films (Roads Full of Apricots, 2011• Muron, 2002 • Verve, 2003 • Home/Land, 2008 • I Left My Shoes in Istanbul, 2011 • Milk, Carnation and a Godly Song, 2012) and has won awards from prestigious film festivals, among others: Golden Panda, China • Golden Eagle, Belgium • Aliph, Lebanon • Mamoulian Award, USA.