“Spitak”, Armenia’s submission in the foreign language category for the 2019 Academy Awards, is set for its Los Angeles premiere on Friday, December 7 at the Laemmle Glendale.
The feature is about an earthquake that devastated the country in 1988, but the film is surprisingly quiet.
According to an article published by Glendale News Press, Hysteria, panic and tears are depicted minimally. Even the quake registers as an understatement. Instead, Kott focuses on the hard physical and emotional work that follows.
At the center is protagonist, Ghor (Lernik Harutyunyan), who returns to Spitak, the city that was at the quake’s epicenter, to find his wife and daughter, who he left behind to pursue a new life in Moscow.
What he finds are locals and their relatives struggling to find their loved ones — dead or alive — amid heaps of rubble, debris and bodies.
Composer Serj Tankian said he sought to develop a modern, minimalist score with piano, strings, woodwinds and arpeggiated pad-type instruments to contrast the movie’s darker themes.
While Kott said Glendale is an ideal screening location, given its large Armenian and Armenian-American population, he expressed worry that many in attendance may have painful memories stirred up because of their personal connection to the tragedy.