Sasountsi Davit animation feature film – a pitiful disappointment

“Sasuntsi Davit”, the first Armenian animated movie took 10 years to make and cost 350 million Armenian drams (less than $1 million US). The movie was shoot at an incredibly slow pace – 10 minutes per year, which the producers account to lack of adequate funding and specialists.
The 80 minute full feature animated film was presented to the Armenian public on January 26th. The film is running in “Moscow” cinema theatre currently.
The legend of “Sasna tsrer” is probably the only medieval Armenian legend that has survived in a more or less complete form till our days. The four part epic deals with the birth of twin brothers, founders of Sasoun (a region in Southern Armenia) –  Sanasar and Baghdasar and their son Elder Mher, includes elements of ancient pagan culture, while the story of Sasountsi Davit, the main hero who fights against Arab invaders deals with middle ages and Arab invasions. The last part, my favourite, about Juniour Mher, was omitted from the animated movie, but there are plans to produce a separate part which will cover that part of the epic in the future.
I watched the film with my son, and have to state, that I’m deeply disappointed. While the film was beautifully done, the directing was strange to say the least, and that has nothing to do with scarcity of resources. For some reason, the pagan components were emphasized in the film too much, the Zodiac horoscope signs were shown here and there, and it seemed, that the whole story is more about Zodiac than the legendary heros of Armenia. The initial bits of the film were done in great details, but the closing was sudden, and the parts of the fight between Sasountsi Davit and his mega-enemy, Msra Meliq, ended in a minute or two, leaving my son and all the other viewers with a strange feeling of incompleteness. I’d say, if you could wait for 10 years, why not wait a couple of more years and do a proper fight? And generally – what is this?

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. I wonder how South Park can come up with a brand new episode in four days and it takes to film a story with a pretty much complete screenplay for so long.
    Sasuntsi David is an interesting enough story to appeal to a large market where Armenians around the world would want to get a DVD for their kids to watch.

    1. Well, don’t know about South Park, but Shrek, for example, cost 60-80 million USD per movie. Money talks, money makes things move…

      1. Shrek is over the top animation. Smaller studios can never allow that level of production (animation, celebrity voices, etc.) because they lack the markets for it.
        There was a point in time when I had hopes that Hayfilm would become a well managed studio when it became private with proper distribution channels, capitalization and production levels. But I haven’t heard anything of the sort since then.

  2. The epic is NOT medieval. It was simply retold in the context of the time.

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