‘Blue Hour’ to Kick off Armenian Film Series at MFA

By Thomas C . Nash
Mirror-Spectator Staff

BOSTON — The second annual Armenian film series at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) will begin with a screening of “The Blue Hour” on May 1.

“The Blue Hour,” released in 2007, uses the Los Angeles river as a backdrop for four loosely-connected stories among a multi-ethnic cast that includes a teenage graffiti artist, a blues guitarist, a retiree and an Armenian camera repairman.

The film has been noted for its lack of dialogue, which director Eric Nazarian said clocks in at less than eight minutes.

“I wanted a film that didn’t require subtitles, to make a film about characters around the world whose last names we don’t really know,” Nazarian explained. “It was very important to make this a film about human beings.”

The goal, Nazarian said, was to take the surroundings and illustrate the possible connections with one another that are never made.

“[The film] was a chance to really examine this scene of how we’re living side-by-side in these big global cities but have very little chance to communicate by design in Los Angeles,” he added. “It was a chance for me to explore the lives of four strangers constantly orbiting each other but never getting a chance to connect.”

Nazarian emigrated to Los Angeles from Soviet Armenia when he was 4. He cites his folklorist aunt, Tarik, as an influence on the Armenian character in the film.

“I wanted to examine a different generation of Armenians — second or third-generations Armenians — to examine the relationship from a very impressionistic perspective. I wanted each story to have its own kind of ethnic music.”

Nazarian picked up the love of filmmaking from his father, Haik, who while living in Armenia in the ’70s was forced to leave film school for mandatory military service.

Eric Nazarian graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema- Television. “The Blue Hour” was his first feature film and has won several awards at several festivals, including the Golden Apricot festival and a “best director” award from the Arpa Foundation for Film Music and Art (AFFMA).

In 2008, Nazarian won a Nicholls Fellowship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his screenplay, “Giants,” a family drama about a 19-year-old facing open-heart surgery.

The Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance-hosted series will run May 1-3. More information is available at www.armeniandrama.org.