Shine on: Letter to Sos Sargsyan

Renowned Armenian actor, playwright, and political activist Sos Sargsyan passed away on Sept. 26. He was 84. Below, the Armenian Weekly features filmmaker Eric Nazarian’s tribute to the legendary artist.

Beloved Maestro Sos,

I am on the freeway in Los Angeles facing the northern mountains. Yesterday, I was looking into a storyboard of your eyes for “Land of Plenty,” the film we were going to make together years ago. I just learned of your final rite of passage. You are 11 hours away from Los Angeles. The flood of memory overtakes me now. I remember when I was seven years old in Glendale. My late father Haik would bring home video cassettes from the old country. “Nahapet.” “Autumn Sun.” “Menk Enk Mer Sarere.” You were a mentor, a grandfather, a raconteur, a legend, but always the common man. You were the living embodiment of Saroyan’s title, “My Heart is in the Highlands.” You were the old warrior and quiet survivor who could sing like a hurricane. You were the face of Armenian cinema for us. You are now entering the home where Frunzik’s smile greets you. Where Parajanov taps out another screenplay on an old Soviet-era typewriter surrounded by puppets made of torn old carpets. Where Aram Khatchadourian is tuning up his piano next to a quiet room echoing Komitas Vartabed’s voice. Komitas was born 144 years ago today.

Yesterday, I was looking into a storyboard of your eyes for “Land of Plenty,” the film we were going to make together years ago.
Yesterday, I was looking into a storyboard of your eyes for ‘Land of Plenty,’ the film we were going to make together years ago.

Today you crossed the finish line from this realm. They say there is no such a thing as coincidences, just the fate carved on our foreheads–the same forehead holding your droopy eyes that saw way past a thousand miles. Eyes that spoke the grace and beauty of life in all its pathos, joy, heartache, glory, and quiet beauty. You were our last pillar of Armenia’s Golden Age of Cinema. You greeted all with the peace of a grandfather. I remember open arms when I was still a student. You were ready to return to the battleground of cinema and stage, the always hungry artist and mentor to dreamers young and old. I will miss walking into your office and seeing you smoking at your desk, quietly reminiscing about Tarkovsky, Malian, and Shakespeare. I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to reach the lights of the movie we were going to make together. The final curtain fell but your light shines eternal. Rest in peace, Hayrig jan. With love and gratitude.

Your student forever,
Eric Nazarian

Eric Nazarian

Eric Nazarian

Eric Nazarian is a screenwriter, filmmaker and photojournalist. In 2007, Nazarian wrote and directed “The Blue Hour,” a first feature film that won six international awards. In 2008, Nazarian received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® (home of the Oscars) prestigious Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting for his original screenplay, “Giants.” In turn, Nazarian’s film “Bolis” was the recipient of the Best Short Film Award at the 14th Arpa International Film Festival in 2011.
Eric Nazarian

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  1. Ah! Eric jon, you said it all so eloquently.
    Legends never die and to us Sos Sargsian was/is a legend.
    Thank you

  2. I started to read this article and contued till the end. Very well said. Love and respect expressed transparently through words. Kritched anesbar.

  3. You expressed the opinion of every Armenian. Sos Sargsyan was really a National actor beloved by every single Armenian. He personified the very essence of a common Armenian man who suffered a lot, however, was able to preserve his dignity, purity and wisdom.

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