“3 Weeks In Yerevan” achieves three very important goals. It shows that films made in Armenia should be able to find an American audience. It also reveals that there aren’t a lot of differences when it comes to making movies no matter where the project is based. And, it serves as a beautiful glimpse of Armenia that should be used by the tourism board.
It accomplishes more than many movies made in Hollywood.
The film (presented in Armenian with English subtitles) looks at what happens when two filmmakers – a director (Vahe Berberian) and a producer (Vahik Pirhamzei) – travel to Armenia to shoot a movie. They want to make a very simple movie about family, adoption and love of country.
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The problems they face getting the movie off the ground create a mix of light comedy and sweet interaction. There’s a universal feel about trying to make a dream come true when everyone wants to wake you up with their own reality.
What makes the movie so entertaining is how Berberian and Pirhamzei, who also directed the movie, show that the pitfalls of filmmakers are universal. There’s the minister of culture who has written a novel he’s sure would make a great screenplay. The police chief thinks the movie needs a kidnapping plot.
There’s a running gag about a false rumor that Al Pacino was going to be in the movie, planted just to get a crowd for the initial news conference. And the Armenian press is just as superficial as the American version, even down to asking why someone would have two hair braids instead of one.
Showing that filmmaking in Armenia offers the same peculiarities as in America will be a great way to attract moviegoers now that the movie is opening in the United States.
“3 Weeks in Yerevan” also offers a broad look at the country from its beautiful countrysides to the very modern look of the city. From fashion to city design, the movie looks like it could be set in any major U.S. city.
That glimpse should certainly spark interest in those who have wanted to go to Armenia but have been worried about what they will find. “3 Days in Yerevan” reveals a lot of the natural beauty of the country.
The weak link is the acting. Berberian and Pirhamzei should have just concentrated on directing as they show a great skill in dealing with light comedy. It’s their performances that come across as a little stiff.
Obviously, the film will be a big draw for those with Armenian heritage. But it shouldn’t matter because the movie takes a universal story and presents it in an entertaining fashion. That’s something moviegoers in all countries want and deserve.