Prominent film critic Zaven Ghokasian passed away on February 20 at the age of 65 in his home in Isfahan following a long battle with stomach cancer. Ghokasian had spent five months in hospital in Austria and underwent stomach surgery in September. On January 27 he finally returned to his hometown of Isfahan. Upon return to Iran he was again where he was transferred to hospital undergoing more general exams and after about two weeks around February 10 finally he returned home where he had to finally surrender in the battle against cancer.
Ghokasian was born in 1951 in Isfahan and graduated with a bachelor in chemistry from university of Isfahan. His mother, Ada Atayan, was one of the young cinema lovers that frequented the newly established Cine Club in Isfahan in the 1950s. She then became Zaven’s first introduction to cinema and film magazines.
In 1970 Arby Avanesian Armenian- Iranian auteur filmmaker went to Isfahan to film Cheshmeh and Zaven found himself drawn to his film sets. He met with Avanesian and was deeply influenced by him which made him further pursue studies and research in film. In 1972, Ghukasian published his first book on film titled Dar Bareye Cheshmeh (About Cheshmeh), an analysis of Avanesian’s film by the same title. He also went on to work as an amateur filmmaker with 8mm film and later became head of Isfahan’s Free Cinema. All My Children, Another Season and Old Bride are amongst the titles of his films. Armenian artists and customs of Iranian-Armenians were some of the chief subjects of his films.
Ghokasian has published 24 books on Iranian filmmakers and actors such as Abbas Kiarostami, Bahram Beyzai, Bahman Farmanara and Fatemeh Motamedarya. Ghokasian also served on numerous judging panels in film festivals in Iran, Austria, Italy and Armenia and wrote hundreds of articles and film reviews and critiques in his 43 years as a film critic.
He researched extensively about oral history and documentary filmmaking. He also held teaching positions in Tehran’s Soureh University and Isfahan’s Sepehr University.
During his hospitalization in Austria, the ailing film critic was visited by a number of Iranian filmmakers and artists including Abbas Kiarostami. Asghar Farhani, Heshmat Arash Riyahi. Farhad Varharam and Fatemeh Motamedarya.
Zaven Ghokasina will be laid to rest in the Cemetery of Armenians in Isfahan next to his parents.