Artavazd Peleshian (b. 1938)
Earth of People (1966)
Earth of People (Mardkants Yerkire, 1966) is the second student film that Peleshian made while studying at the prestigious VGIK institute and already, it shows the author’s stamp. Early on we are shown images of massive man made structures - bridges, railroads and skyscrapers. As the twisted title starts to make meaning, Peleshian starts showing us human hands, humans at work and the world being constructed by humans. We see people from every profession – doctors, engineers, workers and scientists – carrying on with their routine robotically as the soundtrack suddenly stops giving us conventional score and starts gathering the most bizarre of mechanical sounds. But soon, the optimistic tone of the film gives way to distrust and we realize that we aren’t exactly masters of this world. We see these people are, in fact, trapped within their own creations (which strangely reminds us of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)), which gradually takes us back to the title: Whose world is this? No wonder the film opens and closes with the image of a thinker’s statue. Peleshian’s film is symmetrical, as would be his later works, with both the soundtrack and imagery getting reflected along the centre of the film.
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