BY CATHERINE YESAYAN
If you’re like me… I could hardly wait for the April 21, when it was the nationwide opening night of “The Promise,” — the first ever big budget Hollywood movie on the Armenian Genocide. I had checked a few movie reviews, and my heart was broken by the not so good critics which later I realized there were smear campaign from the other side.
Last night, a day before the National premiere, I had the privilege of being invited to a private screening of the movie in San Mateo, California, a suburb of San Francisco. It happened that I was in the Bay Area and I could attend the preview.
A San Mateo couple, Lori and Ara Jabagchourian had bought out a movie theater to share the film with their Armenian and non-Armenian friends for the special screening. The theatre seats 282 people of which 180 were non-Armenian guests.
Lori told me the idea of organizing a private showing of the movie came to her when she realized that her son’s school teacher, didn’t know anything about Armenians and the history behind it.
The movie which is a love triangle with the Armenian Genocide in the backdrop during Ottoman era, is a coherently constructed drama. Let me clarify it was above my expectation. I loved the acting, the storyline and the cinematography.
I should emphasize that Oscar Isaac playing the role of Mykael, who leaves his fiancé in their village in Anatolia and heads to Constantinople to study medicine at the university and become a doctor, is exemplary.
I left the theater with wet eyes. After the screening the Jabagchourians had invited the whole crowd to Pacific Catch restaurant, which was right across the movie theater. We had a good time to mingle and learn about other people’s take. Everybody was raving about the movie.