The Circle of Time: A Tribute to Artavazd Péléchian

“The films of Armenian-born Artavazd Péléchian are amongst the most stunning documentaries of the postwar Soviet era. Trained in the classrooms of Moscow’s storied cinematography school VGIK, Péléchian began to develop a singular style from his very first films. Unlike many of his more political peers, Péléchian explored humanist themes on a universal scale, using beautifully photographed observations of people, animals and nature to comment on time and the human condition. Key to his filmmaking is his theory of distance montage, in which thematic links are made over the course of a film rather than across direct cuts; as he explained the concept, ‘Eisenstein’s montage was linear, like a chain. Distance montage creates a magnetic field around the film. It’s like when a light is turned on and light is generated around the lamp. In distance montage, when the two ends are excited, the whole thing glows.’ This technique is similar to the editing style of Nathaniel Dorsky, although Péléchian strives towards circularity, symmetry and a more absolute sense of time.

This programme comprises three of Péléchian’s most important films, including his masterpiece The Seasons, made in collaboration with cinematographer Mikhail Vartanov (a long-time ally of the great Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov). With stunning shots of shepherds herding sheep through winter snow and springtime rapids, farmers directing hay bales down steep inclines, and the celebratory rituals of a village wedding, The Seasons is Péléchian’s supreme celebration of the interrelationship of humanity and the natural world.” – Chris Kennedy

Introduction by Marguerite Vappereau, co-editor of the new book Artavazd Péléchian: une symphonie du monde.

Co-presented and organized with Toronto International Film Festival’s Wavelength Series. Special thanks to Chris Kennedy and Samuel La France.

The Inhabitants (Obitateli)
Format: 35mm
Duration: 8 min

We (My)
Format: 35mm
Duration: 26 min
Year: 1969

The Seasons (Vremena Goda)
Format: 35mm
Duration: 30 min
Year: 1975


Artavazd Ashoti Péléchian (Leninakan, Armenia 1938). Studies at Moscow’s Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (VGIK). 12+ films since 1964; screenings and exhibitions at ZKM | Center for Art and Media (Karlsruhe), Berlin, Melbourne, Venice, Jihlava, Oberhausen Film Festivals, Foundation Cartier (Paris), MoMA (New York), and Whitechapel (London), etc. Author of theoretical texts, including Moyo Kino (1998). Frequent collaborator with cinematographer Mikhail Vartanov and director Sergei Parajanov. Named Renowned Master of the Armenian SSR Arts (1979). First appearance at Media City. Lives in Moscow, Russia.


Marguerite Vappereau (Pithiviers, France 1980). Studies at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Curator of exhibitions at Museum national d’histoire naturelle (Paris) and La Comedie de Caen (Normandy). Author of Les Histoires de René Allio (2013), André François fait son cinéma (2015), Artavazd Péléchian: une symphonie du monde (2016), and René Allio: le mouvement de la création (2017). She is Assistant Professor at Bordeaux-Montaigne University. First appearance at Media City. Lives in Paris, France.