Last Station

(English soundtrack)

With:
Gerald ... Gerald Papasian Nora ... Nora Armani Armen ...Armen Djigarkhanian Marie ... Marie Pailhes Shirley ... Bonnie Moore

(English soundtrack)

Somewhere in the meanderings of “Last Station” is an interesting saga of people who are physically and emotionally displaced in society. However, its filmmakers fail to find the core or focus of that idea. Add extremely modest to poor production values, and the Armenian-produced, English-language venture appears doomed to special screenings far from the commercial mainstream.

Relayed in flashback, this is the story of Gerald (Gerald Papasian) and Nora (Nora Armani), a couple of Egyptian-born Armenian performers who achieve brief notoriety when they stage a drama about themselves and their heritage. It’s a show born out of desperation, professional disappointment and, obliquely, a need to find links with a culture they have known only on a secondhand basis.

It’s intriguing material related in the most banal fashion. Gerald recounts the personal odyssey in the process of writing a letter to Nora. He’s also trying to make some sense of their failed marriage and the complacent lifestyle he’s adopted as a journeyman actor in Paris.

The paucity of technical resources for “Last Station” is all too obvious. Direct-sound scenes suffer from thin, hollow looping, and drab, static visuals exacerbate the leaden pace. Virtually the entire story is prodded along by voiceover narration that often foreshadows what director Haroutiun Katchatrian is about to convey visually.

Katchatrian further diminishes the effort with an unconvincing conclusion that inadvertently mocks his very approach. The film is frustrating, offering the prospect of some meaty issues but delivering an unpalatable hash.

Last Station

(ARMENIAN)

Production: Parev Films presents an Armenfilm Studios production. Produced by Nora Armani. Directed by Haroutiun Katchatrian. Co-director, Armani. Screenplay, Katchatrian, Armani, Gerald Papasian, Mikayel Stamboltsian.

Crew: Camera (color), Vrej Petrossian, Arto Melkoumian; editors, Sophie Gabrielian, Lena Saroyan; music, Avet Terterian; art direction, Samuel Nahatakian. Reviewed at AFI/L.A. Film Festival, July 6, 1994. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: Gerald ... Gerald Papasian Nora ... Nora Armani Armen ...Armen Djigarkhanian Marie ... Marie Pailhes Shirley ... Bonnie Moore

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