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Garden Dwelling

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Film by Tina Bastajian Featured in Annual Middle East Film Series at New York University

NEW YORK--On February 5, the Cinema East Second Annual Middle East Film Series will feature a movie by filmmaker Tina Bastajian at the Cantor Film Center-New York University (NYU).

This will be the New York premiere of the new circulating version of Bastajian's "Garden Dwelling," which is not the copy screened at last year's New York Armenian Film Festival.

Bastajian will also be a panelist at a post-screening discussion.

The spring series will feature 13 new films, several of them making their US or New York premier at Cinema East, ranging in style from features, documentaries, and shorts by filmmakers of Middle Eastern origins.

Bastajian's 29-minute "Garden Dwelling" is an oblique travel diary, recounting four Armenians' visit to eastern Turkey in 2003. The film doesn't cover their daily itinerary or major sights, but rather the spaces in between: the awkward translations, the mystifying exchanges, and the unspoken tensions that still linger across a closed border.

It has been called a graceful, nuanced treatment of the filmmakers' ambivalent relationship to their historic homeland. The film is in English, Armenian, Turkish, Arabic, and French, with English subtitles.

Bastajian said, "I did not intend to use the rough video footage or visual notes from our trip. Yet these fragments later revealed many narratives some of which are recounted by various means of translation- albeit incomplete, unresolved, longed for, and denied.

I was drawn to the spaces between the translations-the ironic, absurd, and sobering encounters. I was interested the juxtaposition the many conflicting and ambivalent emotions, that are not always illustrated or discussed," she concluded.

Bastajian is a Los Angeles-based film/video artist whose work explores notions of "otherness" in unexpected places.

Her award-winning works include "Jagadakeer... Between the Near and East," "Yellow Aria," "Pinched Cheeks and Slurs in a Language that Avoids Her," and "Remembering Fatima: A Study on Duration."

Courtesy of AWOL (Armenian Weekly On-Line) January 22-28, 2005