The Chronicle of Yerevan Days: Spatial Representation and Authentic Realism


Author: Shmavon Azatyan, La Trobe University, Australia
Published: August 17, 2018

Citation: Azatyan, S. (2018). The Chronicle of Yerevan Days: Spatial Representation and Authentic Realism. IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film, 5(4).


This article offers an insight into how space is represented in the feature film The Chronicle of Yerevan Days (Dovlatyan, 1972). I examine the film’s unmediated and minimally mediated spatial presentation of the actual city of Yerevan – its buildings and streets etc. I claim that, in narrating the fictional story, the mise-en-scène and cinematography emphasize the city’s spaces. The manner in which the buildings, streets, and squares are highlighted suggests that the city acts as an agent. I use Koppelhoff’s (2012) theory of “diegetic space,” Alter’s (2005) idea of “mythographer,” and da Costa’s (2015) notion of the urban environment as mise-en-scène to argue that authentic realism arises from the deployment in real time of the city as an agent in The Chronicle of Yerevan Days.

At the core of my argument lies the claim that the film’s narrative integrates objective documentary narration with fictional storytelling. The mise-en-scène and cinematography selectively represent details and fragments of city spaces and buildings, which equip the represented city with a certain agency. In this function, the city interacts with the human characters. My claim about authentic realism stems from the fact that the buildings, streets, and squares in the film are historically accurate in function. This creates for the viewer an intense familiarity. Also, by virtue of their historical and cultural values, the represented buildings and streets contextualize the story as Armenian, infusing a sense of authenticity into the characters and their actions.


film narrative, spatial narrative, realism, film and architecture, location filming