French love the Armenians and the Armenians love the French!!! Despite his recent hip surgery he still managed to get around. My friends tell me Gerard loves fine food and wine.
Gerard Depardieu Discusses Genocide, Culture in Armenia
By: Nanore Barsoumian
YEREVAN (A.W.)—In early September, renowned French actor, director, and producer Gerard Depardieu visited Armenia, where he received a film prize, met President Sarkisian, visited the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide Memorial, and talked about playing in a film on Armenian history and the genocide.
On Sept. 4, Depardieu received the Armenian National Assembly Medal of Honor and a Karot 2010 Festival Prize. The Cultural International Karot Festival is organized under the auspices of National Assembly speaker Hovik Abrahamyan, who presented Depardieu with the medal and prize. The actor, in turn, thanked Karot Prize recipients for their contributions to art and music.
Abrahamyan suggested the next Karot Festival be held in Paris, under Depardieu’s auspices.
Depardieu said he intends to organize a film festival in Armenia, and personally encourage other European artists to visit the country, according to a press release from the National Assembly.
Meeting with Sarkisian
Depardieu also met with President Serge Sarkisian, who said Depardieu’s participation in the festival was a supportive gesture in promoting Armenian culture. “We Armenians are in general a very emotional people,” Sarkisian said. “We view ourselves as a culture-loving nation and believe that culture is the core of our national identity. We constantly receive impulses and signals from that core, from our roots, and these signals sustain our resilience.”
“I am too very proud and thankful to be here, in Armenia,” noted Depardieu. “Here I feel like an Armenian. With time I came to know many Armenians living in France, who after the genocide of 1915 were able to go on living and rebuilt their lives thanks to their culture and resilience. I know all the members of the Armenian community and their children. They are directors and filmmakers like Henri Verneuil, artists like Jansem, singers and composers like Charles Aznavour. That’s why I responded with pleasure to the invitation of the Armenian Fund for Cultural Development, especially after seeing pictures of your country. When a country has such long-established traditions and amazing geography it means that the Armenians have a very tolerant, generous, and rich nature,” Depardieu was quoted as saying on Sarkisian’s official webpage.
During a press conference on Sept. 4, Depardieu said he finds the word “karot” (nostalgia) interesting, and understands why it has a special meaning for Armenians, the majority of whom live outside Armenia.
“In France I am familiar with numerous Armenians. I know why the Armenians are there. I know what the genocide means, that it took place in 1915,” said Depardieu.
“Today I visited the genocide victims’ complex, and it greatly impressed me,” said the actor, adding, “I think that Turkey has already begun the process of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Here I don’t want to speak about the politics, but I know that there are countries that have raised that issue before Turkey… Here the culture plays a big role.”
Depardieu also said that he is familiar with fourth-generation French-Armenians. “I know that today many Armenians living in France want to find again their country, Armenia. One thing always surprises me—they have never forgotten either their traditions or their language.”
He also said he would gladly make a film about a period in Armenian history, with the help of actors of Armenian origin.
Depardieu is a French actor, producer, director, and winemaker. He has won numerous honors and awards, including an Academy Award nomination for the main role in “Cyrano de Bergerac” (1990) and a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in “Green Card” (1990).