Henri Verneuil (real name Ashot Malakian) was born on October 15, 1920 in Rodostow, Western Armenia. The fate of Henri’s life repeated the fate of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in Western Armenia. After the genocide committed against the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1924, the Malakian family first immigrated to Greece, then settled in Marseille, and since 1930 in the capital of France.

At first he was obsessed with painting, then journalism and radio. After graduating from the French high school in Aix en Provence, he published a series of articles about the revolution in the newspaper “Marseille”.

He made his debut in the cinema as an assistant and director of numerous short films. He directed his first feature film in 1951 with the help of Fernandel.

In 1959, with the same Fernandel, he directed the comedy “the cow and the prisoner” about an escaped prisoner of war who drives a cow under the guise of a farmer. The film ends with their epic farewell scene.

In 1991, Verneuil told the story of his family in two films, “Mayrig” and “588 rue de Paradis” (this was the address of the Malakian family in Marseilles), in which he was able to describe the situation of the desperate Armenian refugees who found refuge in Marseilles with such vividness and sincerity that it moved him worldwide.

  These two films became his last cinematic works. Until then, Verneuil had never mentioned the Armenian theme in his works, except for the participation of Charles Aznavour in some of his films and the shooting of the famous video of the song “For you, Armenia” dedicated to the earthquake in Spitak in 1988.The song was performed by 90 French singers and actors, the author of the text of the song is Charles Aznavour, the author of the music is the composer Garvarentz, the director of the video is Henri Verneuil. https://vk.com/wall-183703127_8621