A fable of hope from Soviet Armenia


about film

film synopsis

In 1947, an Armenian-American repatriates to Armenia only to end up in a Soviet prison. Hopeless and alone, he discovers he can see into a nearby apartment  from his cell window, where a native Armenian man, unaware that he is being watched, slowly reveals the soul of Armenia hidden behind the iron curtain.

As a young boy, CHARLIE escaped the Armenian genocide by stowing away in a trunk bound for the United States. His family was not so lucky. Despite his tragic start, as an adult, Charlie has managed to maintain his child-like wonder for the world. However, like so many refugees and orphans, there’s a hole in Charlie’s big heart.

In 1947, Charlie repatriates back to Armenia only to be greeted by the harsh reality of Soviet Communism. The soul of Armenia has been suffocated beneath the iron curtain. Almost immediately Charlie is arrested for the absurd crime of wearing a tie by a jealous Russian Commander, DMITRY, whose wife, SONA, has taken an liking to him. To further ensure Charlie doesn’t influence other prisoners with his “cosmopolitan” ways, he is placed in solitary confinement.

Just as he appears to be succumbing to the terror of his situation, Charlie discovers that the prison wall outside his cell window had been damaged during a recent earthquake. And through a hole he can see into a nearby apartment building… 

The Armenian couple who live in the apartment, TIGRAN and RUZAN, become Charlie’s only connection to the outside world. Every chance he gets he watches them, living vicariously through the details of their private lives, sharing meals with them, laughing, crying, singing and dancing with them. All the while discovering the Armenian culture he never knew. Charlie begins to care deeply for Tigran, sympathizing with this Soviet Armenian who has been forced to suppress his passion for music, food, art and life. But then, in an unexpected twist of fate, Tigran discovers that Charlie has been watching him, to Charlie’s surprise, Tigran does not report him, but instead allows Charlie further into his world.

Through these two prisoners of circumstance, our belief in love and magic is revived and Charlie ultimately finds what he came to Armenia in search of … a homeland.

director's statement

Films about Armenia have mostly focused on the Genocide, which is crucial. But as a people, there is so much more to who we are! Our music, our food, our passion, our “over-the-top” generosity, our love for life. 

Amerikatsi celebrates and shares this side of Armenia with the world, a side which since my boyhood, I have longed to know and reconnect with. In many ways, the main character Charlie’s dream of returning to his homeland reflects the dream of not only the Armenian Diaspora, but hundreds of millions of people throughout the world who long to connect to their native land. 

For many, especially in America, I feel that far-away-land pulsing in our blood, calling for us to return. But, like Charlie, the reality of our ancestral homeland doesn’t always turn out to be what we imagined it would be. The connection we long for is always just out of reach, as if residing on the other side of a prison wall.

From Armenian-American Filmmaker, Michael Goorjian

why armenia

Despite being a very small country, surrounded by adversaries, Armenia has a deep cultural history and a far reaching diaspora that have brought bits and pieces of this culture to the western world. After breaking free of Soviet control and the subsequent oligarchies that followed, Armenia is bursting with excitement and pent up passion. 

Amerikatsi is shining a light on that heart of what it means to be Armenian and the great hope that lies ahead. Unfortunately, as recent events show, you can not always control what others do and Armenia was recently thrown back into a war they did not want to fight. Watching as members of our cast and crew headed to the front lines to defend their homeland mere months after we wrapped was heartbreaking. 

But even as the world continues. to throw obstacles in the way, somehow the Armenian people are able to break through and hold the cultural ideals above the challenges that are constantly threatening to tear them down.


In many ways, the main character Charlie’s dream of returning to his homeland reflects the dream of not only the Armenian Diaspora, but hundreds of millions of people throughout the world who long to connect to their native land. The Amerikatsi film team will be offering a screening tour at home in Yerevan.