Mayrig is a semi-autobiographical movie written and directed by the outstanding French-Armenian filmmaker Henri Verneuil (Ashot Malakian).
Mayrig is a beautiful and at the same time very dramatic movie that tells about the tragic events of the Armenian Genocide and the life of a refugee family in France.
The first 30 minutes of Mayrig are dedicated to those events of 1915, when the Ottoman Empire massacred, humiliated and starved one and half million Armenians.
The next part of the movie presents the story and the struggle of an Armenian family that immigrated to France from Ottoman Empire after those terrifying events.
Mayrig depicts the period of 1921 when the Armenian family moved to Marseille and started to create a better life for their future. The story of this family is told by the memories of a six-year-old child – Azad Zaqarian. Later he changes his name to Pierre Zakar.
Watching the movie, you can see that the boy is surrounded with love and care, as the elders of the family do everything for the boy to have a good education and become an engineer.
The Movie Mayrig: “The Most Precious Piece of European Cinematography…”
As the title of the movie gives us a hint, it’s all about the gratuitous love and care of the mother of the family. It is almost impossible to watch this brilliant move of the French-Armenian filmmaker Henri Verneuil and not get agitated and flustered.
As once Le monde de Paris mentioned: “Henri Verneuil, definitely, succeeds to illustrate life so accurately and vividly that tears spontaneously roll down from the faces of the audience.”
Likewise, as one of the most famous French magazines once stated:
The cast of this movie is also exceptional. In 1991 Henri Verneuil invited the best French actors for the casting of Mayrig.
Interesting Facts about the Movie Mayrig
- How was the movie created? Interestingly, Henri Verneuil shot the movie Mayrig by the recommendations of his friend and well-known French Armenian historian and novelist Henri Troyat. Furthermore, in this historical-autobiographical movie Verneuil tells about the Armenian Genocide and its consequences on the pattern of his family.
- By the way, the script of Mayrig was written in more than 40 versions, but only one was published in 1985, in 200,000 copies and was translated into ten languages. The book is really famous among those people who admire the works of this talented French-Armenian director. The book is a touching story of this Armenian family that sheltered in France and achieved their right to survive there with their unlimited kindness and diligence.
- As Henri Verneuil himself, the character of the young boy Azad Zakarian was very close to his motherland and never forgot Armenia. There’s a great scene in this movie that proves this fact. When the boy attends Sunday school at French Catholic Church with his schoolmates, the pastor tries to impact on them, saying that there can’t be any forgiveness without Catholic Church. Whereas, Azad silently replies to the pastor in his thoughts: “Armenian Apostolic Church was built 17 centuries before Roman Catholic Church.”
Check Out Some Fun Facts
- Omar Sharif, who played one of the leading characters of the movie (father of the family), was banned from entering Turkey for participating in this movie.
- The Seventh Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival was opened by the movie “Mayrig”. Among the honorable guests of this festival was also the legend of film industry Claudia Cardinale.
- Just like in the movie, Henri Verneuil was just a little boy when he moved to France with his family. They did everything for the boy to skip the national tragedy and to integrate with French people. And, eventually, he became a Frenchman, changed his Armenian surname, but then regretted it. However, with the age Henri Verneuil became more Armenian than all of the other Armenians.
- As you may notice above, in the cast of the move there’s an Armenian surname. It is the actress of the eldest aunt, Isabelle Sadoyan, who was really Armenian. Like Henri Verneuil, she was a French-Armenian too and was prominent actress in France.
- The phenomenal soundtrack of this movie was written by the famous French composer Jean-Claude Petit. This is such an amazing and touching music that while listening to it you will wonder how the composer could understand and feel the Armenian soul. So many powerful feelings and emotions in just one movie and music!
The Sequel of the Movie Mayrig “588 Rue Paradis”
It goes without saying that the movie Mayrig received a huge success not only from the public, but from the critics as well. That fact provoked and motivated Henri Verneuil to create a sequel to his first autobiographical movie Mayrig.
The sequel, called 588 Rue Paradis, succeeded in ratings as well.
The events in this movie take place somewhat forty years after the previous one. And now that little boy Azad is a grown man and is very famous and successful playwright. He already changed his name to Pierre Zakar, as it is much easier and familiar for the French to pronounce.
However, his aged parents still live in a modest way under their Armenian names and with their intact family identity. They have arrived to Paris for the premiere of their son’s play. Well, this is the point where the real drama starts.
Pierre, thinking that he will honor his parents in this way, settles them in a five-star hotel instead of inviting them to his house. This arouses conflict between the son and father, during which they use some harsh words towards each other.
What happens next is really very touching and emotional. Unfortunately, the father dies during this conflict without giving Pierre the chance to express his true feelings to his father.
Afterwards, to restore his conscience towards his family, Pierre spends a lot of time with his mother and even buys her a very large, classy and posh house with a wonderful garden in 588 Rue Paradis. This is the house his mother desired to buy one day, when he was little. The script of this movie is truly uplifting and is a great option to be viewed with your beloved ones.
Rating and Feedback of the Movie Mayrig
One of the reasons why the movie Mayrig is well worth watching is that it represents a sublime art that teaches us how to love and care about the others and always be a human in any situation.
However, above all these things, the drama of this movie tells us that we should never forget our roots, where we come from and what our national identity is.
A story of boundless love and generosity that we want to hear, be happy and sad about, laugh and cry with.
Feedbacks from Reviewers
Awards and Nominations
In 1991 Mayrig won an Academy Award by the National Academy of Cinema in France.
Also, the movie received a César Award nomination in the category of the “Best Original Score” for Jean-Claude Petit’s music.
So, all you have to do is to get cozy, grab a snack and just enjoy this masterpiece.
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