Turkish Director’s Film on Genocide Premieres at Venice Festival

Tahar Rahim in a scene from Fatih Akim's 'The Cut'


VENICE, Italy—German-born Turkish director Fatih Akin’s film “The Cut,” which follows the story of a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday, Reuters reports.

Akin acknowledged at a news conference that he’d received hate mail about the film and even a death threat on Twitter, but said “please don’t make too much out of that.”

“The film that Fatih made is the film that the Armenians have been waiting for. Everybody always says, ‘When are we making a film, a film about the Armenian genocide?,’” Simon Abkarian, one of the actors in the film, said at a press conference.

“It took time. The first generation had to survive, the second generation had to live and the third generation had to react and claim what we had to claim, which is the recognition of the genocide, most of it. And I think that one film is never enough to tell such a story, we have to make more.”

“The Cut” is the last in what the director calls his “Love, Death and the Devil” trilogy and focuses on the plight of Armenians who are uprooted from their villages and sent on death marches into the desert, conscripted into forced labor gangs or killed outright.

The main figure is Nazaret Manoogian, played by Tahar Rahim, an Armenian blacksmith who is separated from his wife and young twin daughters in the middle of the night by Turkish soldiers, who take him to a work camp, after which his town is cleared of Armenians.

He survives the forced labor in the desert and avoids having his throat slit when his would-be executioner takes pity and only pretends to kill him.

After Turkey’s defeat in the war, he begins a quest that takes him to Cuba and America in search of his missing daughters who have fled there, after their mother and the rest of their family were killed.

Nazaret ends up in North Dakota working on a railroad construction crew and is brutally beaten with a shovel when he intervenes to stop one of the workers raping a native American woman. Her plight recalls the rape of an Armenian woman by Turks that Nazaret saw in Turkey but could do nothing to stop.

“I had to create an empathy, an empathy for the hero, an empathy for the story,” Akin said.

“One trick I used was I took the genocide on the native Americans and used it just as a snap of an idea, you know, so that even people who deny the fact of the genocide to the Armenians can identify themselves with the hero in that moment, to reflect about it later.”

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8 Comments

  1. Murad said:

    Bravo Tahar …. hope erdogan & his hinchman will see this film …. Viva Armenia …Viva Hay Fedayiner ..

  2. Symon said:

    Bravo. Finaly there is a real and tangible movement toward the right direction – acceptance and remorse. I do not think that a Turk would ever be allowed, even in Italy, to create even a 2-sec video about such a sensitive for Turkey theme without an “approval” by Turkish society. This is a very good sign, that possibly can bring peace to Armenians, Turks, and the rest of the world. It was not in vain that we remember, and the goal, the recognition, will be attained soon.

  3. Dr.Hermon Mihranian said:

    Congratulations. I hope finely the World will recognize the Armenian Genocide, and Turkey will apologize to all Armenians.

  4. elpasohye said:

    I know that this film will only be shown in some cities and not all. Will this film be issued as a DVD? What language and sub-titles ? Looking forward to see/buying this film.

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