Barev, Es Em (Hello, That’s Me), the metaphysical tale by Frunze Dovlatyan


In Barev, es Em (Hello, That’s Me), presented in Cannes Classics in its restored version, Frunze Dovlatyan tells the story of a young scientist who looks back on the choices made to promote the construction of a space research centre on the highest mountain in Armenia. Actor and director Serge Avedikian, who knew the Armenian director quite well, explains why this feature film marked a turning point in the history of Armenian cinema.

It represents the career of this director trained in the Moscow school

Frunze Dovlatyan was born in 1927 in a remote region of Soviet Armenia. At that time, film studies were taught in Moscow. In 1959, he graduated from the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in brilliant fashion, and then worked at the Maxime Gorky studio for two years, until 1961. From 1962 to 1965, he worked with the Moss Film studio, which was then in vogue in Moscow. In 1965, he decided to return to Armenia and work with the state-run studio Armenfilm. Barev, Es, Em (Hello, That’s Me) was the first film he subsequently made. He convinced two actors from Moscow that he knew to join the project: Natalia Fateyeva, who was then a budding young actress, and Roland Bykov, a Jewish actor.

For its unprecedented metaphysical dimension

His film is wholly metaphysical! In Armenia, most film production at the time was devoted to quite classical historical films or comedies. A little like the New Wave directors in France, Frunze Dovlatyan began posing questions instead of espousing certainties. He pondered the profound identity of the human being, particularly through his main character and their own identity. He was always contemplating the responsibility of the human being in the world’s affairs.

For its formal bold style

Frunze Dovlatyan used incredible sequence shots that were considered bold at that time. It’s a very contemplative film, but in an interrogative way. It was also a film shot in CinemaScope and black and white, which apart from American films was quite rare at that period of time. For the Armenfilm studio, Barev, Es Em (Hello, That’s Me) would be an important turning point since the feature film was selected In Competition at Cannes in 1966. Since then, there have been no others.

A presentation of the National Cinema Centre of Armenia (NCCA). Digital restoration of the NCCA with the support of the Hayastan All Armenian Fund, performed by Locomotive Studios, Latvia. The 4K restoration accompanied by the original Armenian-Russian mono soundtrack was performed using the original 35mm camera negative provided by Gosfilmofond in Russia and the interpositive held by the National archives of Armenia and approved by the director.