The Western Armenian language, ripped apart by genocide and deracinated from its indigenous lands, has existed only in diaspora now for over 100 years. During that time, its communities have been continually battered by further instability, war and generational displacement. It is spoken and written by a handful of diasporic communities but few if any are able to sustain it. It is now on the United Nations’ endangered languages list, on the verge of extinction.
My return to Beirut was also a return to the deeply resonant spaces and rhythms of a street-spoken and diasporic Western Armenian.
This film is a speculative attempt to de-exile and recover the language’s fragments. Image as language, image as dialect, tenuous language as image. It is researched and imaged in one of the language’s last bastions: the small neighborhood of Bourj Hammoud in Beirut, Lebanon.