VdR 2017. Review of “The Moon, the Sun, and the Three Musketeers” by Vahagn Khachatryan

Vahagn Khachatryan’s fourth short film, “The Moon, the Sun, and the Three Musketeers,” had its first festival bow in the “Premiers Pas” section of this year’s Visions du Réel Film Festival.

The short documentary is set in a small town on the border between Portugal and Spain. This fairytale-like village almost seems as though it were a place beyond time and space, a place lost to old time. In fact, nothing happens during the day. But, at night, old ghosts roam once again the ancient streets of this hamlet, a completely different facet surging from the cerements of the past… Mystery once again enters the lives of the villagers and allows them to see what it is like on the other side.

Khachatryan’s film is observational, almost voyeuristic – it contemplates the various (mostly old) inhabitants of this mysterious town, carefully scrutinizing their everyday activities. Indeed, people are portrayed continuously following the same routine such as waiting next to the church or going to the local bar for a cup of coffee. The director’s camera records reality and life as it unfolds, just as it happens. It is by no means invasive, intrusive or judgmental. Nor does it beautify reality. In that regard, with its slow pace and no dialogue, “The Moon, the Sun, and the Three Musketeers” is very precise and patient, demanding patience from its viewers. Because it mostly shows the older inhabitants of the village, it gives us a glimpse in to how life is when one grows old in a peculiar small town and one would immediately think: “How boring!” But, with the nocturnal rituals, the film offers another perspective and another reading of the life in this enigmatic town. For one, they shake things up there, and then, in doing so, they offer the senior villagers an enthralling or even scary sneak peek of the “other side” or perhaps even another life. These rituals bring together the past, the present and the future in mysterious and mystic ways. Much like the energy of this town, Khachatryan cleverly divides his film into two different parts: the light and the dark.

“The Moon, the Sun, and the Three Musketeers” most certainly makes for a fascinating and edifying watch that piques our curiosity and makes us wonder about the the history and origins of this village. We want more information in order to be able to put together a more complete cultural, ethnical, sociological and historical context. And, that is good! Mr. Khachatryan should definitely consider expanding this short documentary into a feature.

And, do not forget, the night belongs to the believers…



Production: DocNomads/Golden Apricot FCD (Portugal, Armenia, 2017)

Producer: Vahagn Khachatryan

Director: Vahagn Khachatryan

Screenplay: Nicola Sangs

Cinematography: Rajan Kathet

Editing: Tigran Baghinyan

 Color – 20 min.

Premiere: 24/04/2017 (Visions du Réel)

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