French Armenian Writer Vah Katcha Dies

Well known French-Armenian writer Vah Katcha (Katchadourian) passed away on the evening of January 14. Many films–featuring famous actors and actresses–were based on his novels.

Katcha was born in Damascus–Syria in 1928; his family immigrated there from Adana.He spent his childhood and adolescence in Lebanon–leaving at the age of 17 to settle in France. In France he studied at the IDEC (Institute of Cinematography Studies) at the same time as Jean-Christophe Averty.

Katcha had a passion for reading and eventually–after dabbling in journalism–became a novelist. He wrote his first book–published by Gallimard–by age 20. His second book–"Eye for an Eye," was made into an Andr Cayatte film and starred Kurt Jurgens. In all Katcha wrote 25 novels–2 parts and 15 scenarios for film. His novel "The Hook," was picked up by MGM and made into a film starring Kirk Douglas.The best known Katcha novel made into film is "Le Casse," directed by Henri Verneuil–and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Others include "Galia" which launched Mireille Darc’s career–"A Hear of Joy," with Brigitte Bardot and–"The Swimming Teacher" with Jean-Louis Trintignant and Jean-Claude Brialy During his life Katcha never forgot his Armenian origins–and always maintained a bond with the Armenian community–his culture and roots. In his book "A Dagger in This Garden," based on the Dourian family–history is at the forefront; it tells of an Armenian family from Constantinople–their life during and after the genocide. The book has been critiqued as ‘beautiful–romantic and historical.’

Katcha’s novels possess a distinct atmosphere–sometimes at the edge of the madness–plunging sometimes in to absurdity and always out of any reason. Katcha’s works were drawn from lived–observed or imagined experimen’s.

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