Short Film by Serge Avedikian Wins Cannes Prize

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CANNES, France (ArmeniaNow) — French-Armenian filmmaker Serge Avedikian won the Best Short Film prize at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival on May 23.

Titled “Chiennes D’Histiore,” (English title, “Barking Island”) the film depicts Constantinople in 1910 with the streets overrun with stray dogs. The newly-established government, influenced by a model of western society, uses European experts to choose a method of eradication before deciding, suddenly and alone, to massively deport the dogs to a deserted island away from the city.

Avedikian, receiving the prize from the short film jury president, Canadian-Armenian film director Atom Egoyan, and actor Michelle Rodriguez, stated, “I make films so that the story between my grandfather and my Armenian children in Paris is not broken.”

According to official data, in 1910, there were about 100,000 dogs in Constantinople. The Young Turks, who headed the Ottoman Turkish government then, aiming to eradicate 30,000 stray dogs within a night, moved them to a deserted island, where they died.

“Of course, the hidden sense of the film is the Armenian Genocide,” Avedikian said on his visit to Armenia last November. According to him, such films have a serious impact on the psychology and way of thinking of the Turkish nation. Last year, Turkish intelligentsia members watched the film at a private showing. According to Avedikian, they understood the real essence of the film’s message.

On July 11-15, “Barking Island” will be shown at the Golden Apricot International Film Festival in Yerevan. Actor, film director, writer and producer Avedikian, 55, was born in Yerevan, to a family that had repatriated from France; however, in the 1970s, his parents returned to France.

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Avedikian has starred in 20 feature and 30 TV films.

The top prize, the Palme d’Or, at the festival went to the mystical Thai film, “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.” Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the film is about a dying man who is visited by his late wife and his missing son, who has become an ape. In addition, Javier Bardem and Juliette Binoche took home best actor and actress prizes for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s polarizing “Biutiful” and Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy,” respectively.

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