Nights are long and dark

Photos: Jaan Künnap and Urmas Peiker
Translation: Liis
From December 16 until December 23 the culture historical adventure documentary “Teekond Araratile – Journey to Ararat” runs in the Tallinn cinema Artis.

The new film by director Riho Västriku (“In the footsteps of Middendorf”, 2006) again examines the Baltic-German explorers. It is a film journey focusing on the Ararat mountain which has strong ties to Estonia.
Baltic-German Friedrich Parrot (1791-1841), born in Estonia, climbed the peak of Ararat (5137 m) together with five companions in 1929 as the first Westerner. In the group was also Armenian Hatšatur Abovjan, who from his studies in Tartu after the conquest of the mountain laid the foundations to the modernisation of Armenia.
Riho Västrik and science historian Erki Tammiksaar search for the traces of Parrot in Armenia and Turkey and climb the tip of Ararat exactly 180 years after Parrot.
“Making this film has been a great journey of discovery for me too“, Riho Västrik says. “Most of all I was fascinated by the cultural history of Armenia, and surely this is felt in the film too”.
The film separates into two parts – the first about the cultural voyage in Armenia, the second about the mountain conquest in Turkey. For Armenians Ararat is much more important than simply a mountain. Sadly they can only see their holy mountain through a barbed wire fence. Meanwhile Ararat means nothing special to the Kurds living at the foot of the mountain – simply a large mountain where the tourists who press to get to the peak are prepared to pay for having their luggage carried up.

“It can safely be said that for the Armenians Ararat is a large part of their identity“, says Riho Västrik who arranged a street gallup in Jerevan in the style of Jean Rouch, aided by local beauty Mane. “So even ordinary people in the streets of Jerevan know who first climbed the mountain”.

The film contains magnificent views of Ararat. Man’s insignificance against the power of nature is underlined by Sven Grünberg’s music, with 22 years  "possibly at the peak achievement of my life“. – Grünberg, composer of the music to film "Hotel of the lost alpinist“, points to parallels between the two films.

Parrot was spurred by a curiosity to delve into the dark unknown and perhaps also by a certain vanity. It seems that the makers of this film may be motivated by similar ambitions.


The film team:
Director: Riho Västrik
Operators Joosep Matjus and Riho Västrik
Composer Sven Grünberg
Editor Liina Triškina
Sound editing Ekke Västrik
© OÜ Vesilind 2011

Duration 68 minutes





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