YEREVAN – The long-waited movie “Zulali” was released on October 21 in Yerevan. The film is about personal hardships in the small community of Berd in the Tavush region and explores the mysteries hidden within the walls of a tiny village house.
The depiction of a harsh destiny and love are accompanied by the melodies of Tigran Mansuryan, who returned to composing music for cinema after many years. Narine Abgaryan, the author of the eponymous novel on which the film is based, and the film’s producer and director Hayk Ordyan are both intimately familiar with Berd as natives of Tavush.
Ordyan started his career as a documentary filmmaker in Armenia and abroad and produced movies in Russia, China and other countries. “I decided to attempt a feature film and pondered long about the plot I wanted to bring to the big screen,” asserted Ordyan. A chance meeting with Abgaryan in Moscow sealed the destiny of “Zulali,” which Ordyan thought had the potential to become a competitive feature film. Emphasizing the significance of the film, he added, “It was very much mine, very natural. I grew up in the same environment, surrounded by the same characters, the same mindset, and dialect.”
“Zulali” attracted the producer with its complexity and varied layers which “can be put together as a mosaic” and seemed an appealing subject for the big screen. It explores the difficulties of life in small communities where everything is connected and one careless step alters the whole course of events. The film is based on the stories and memories of three main characters, Zulali, Akir and Nazaros, through which the cruel fate of a family is unveiled. Despite all the difficulties they face, the villagers are able to overcome them together, living, loving and taking care of one another.
Ordyan always kept in touch with the book’s author, Narine Abgaryan, who provided her assistance in every aspect, starting from mental support to choosing the characters. “I showed Narine all the photographs of the actors and the scripts because her opinion was always essential for me,” states Ordyan, “and we worked together on shaping the language of the movie.” Though the novel was written in Russian, the producer decided to use the local Armenian dialect for the film in order to make the film more authentic. “We used the language of Tavush to get closer to the peculiarities of the region,” explained Hayk, “but made the dialect lighter, so it would be understandable for everyone.”
Cooperation with Abgaryan came easily for Ordyan through their mutual attachment to Tavush. Later, the two also became close with Hermine Stepanyan, who plays the title character, as she also hails from there.