Erased Faces by Mikhail Vartanov


Mikhail Vartanov’s fierce Erased Faces (1987) was the first film made in Armenia (and one of the first important Soviet films) to condemn the tabu subject of the Stalin purges. It terrified Vartanov’s colleagues who doubted the permanence of Gorbachev’s recent reforms.

The untold story of the 94 year old protagonist of the film also compelled Vartanov to tell of the similar fate that befell the bright young stars of his first film The Color of the Land (1969) — the assassinated painter Minas Avetisyan (Avetisian) and the imprisoned Sergei Paradjanov — and he completed a trilogy with Minas: A Requiem (1989) and Parajanov: The Last Spring (1992). Erased Faces (1987) also inspired Martiros Vartanov’s Boy With a Movie Camera.