‘Grandma’s Tattoos’ to be Screened in Istanbul

Khanoum is featured in "Grandma's Tattoos"

ISTANBUL—“Grandma’s Tattoos,” the groundbreaking documentary chronicling the lives of tattooed Genocide survivors by Swedish-Armenian filmmaker Suzanne Khardalian will be screened in Istanbul on Thursday and Friday, reported Hurriyet Daily News.

The film will be part of the 10th International Filmmor Festival and will screen at Istanbul’s AFM Fitaş Beyoğlu movie theater.

Khardalian said she was delighted her film would reach Turkish audiences. “My film might serve as a platform to invite dialogue, to discuss issues that are very difficult. It is actually an invitation to deal with our deep-rooted taboos, taboos that have crippled us, both Armenians and Turks,” reported Hurriyet.

Khardalian said she was also a bit nervous because the film was a very personal story. “When making this film, I understood after long deliberation and reflection that I had to be in this. Although the film is about my grandma, it is as much about me. It is about my reality today.”

She said rapes and traumas of women deeply concerned her as a female director, because her grandmother was exposed to violence and her body was tattooed during the events of 1915.
“To be born as a girl was a tragedy for her. I can still hear her cursing me, and I did not like her. When I found out the reality, I felt enormous shame,” she said.

“I have never been to Turkey. But let me tell to you that like all Armenians I know the geography by heart,” Khardalian said.

Filmmaker Suzanne Khardalian

Khardalian is an independent filmmaker and writer. She studied journalism in Beirut and Paris and worked as a journalist in Paris until 1985 when she started to work on films. She also holds a Master’s Degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and contributes articles to different journals. She has directed more than twenty films that have been shown both in Europe and the US.

“Grandma was abducted and kept in slavery for many years somewhere in Turkey. She was also forcibly marked, -tattooed – as a property, the same way you mark cattle. The discovery of the story has shaken me. I share the shame, the guilt and anger that infected my grandma’s life. Grandma Khanoum’s fate was not an aberration. On the contrary tens of thousands of Armenian children and teenagers were raped and abducted, kept in slavery,” explained Khardalian.

“Grandma’s Tattoos” was screened in San Francisco, Westwood, Glendale, Boston, New  Jersey, Michigan and New York in December. It was also broadcast on Al Jazeerah English in January.


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  1. Ed said:

    It broadcast on swedish tv to. I wish it did not! It is really a very bad documantary! Movies/documantaries about the armenian genocide should be done by professionals.This kind of documantaries are actually contraproductive as they do not show how tragic the armenian genocide is

  2. levon sanosyan said:

    Good. So the turks will know how barbarian they are. Show this to Hillery Clinton also. She need s to have some ethics lessons also.

    • hrag masalian said:

      turks will not watch they just 4-5 turkish armenian and hrant dink familiy will watch this movie with police imagine if turks hear that they will come to kill Suzanne Khardalian this truth and Turkey will show that to european union parliments and UN ‘Grandma’s Tattoos’ to be Screened in Istanbul
      what democratic we are yes you are see look result suzanna khardalian and suzanna khardalian have pay alot of money for that and turkish economy gain they got and product the gun kill armenians.be sure turks dont interenst they barbar or engineer we lost armenians shouldnt visit Turkey social economic cultural and armavia should stop the flight istanbul.

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  4. hrag masalian said:

    Turkey will gain money by her 4-5 turkish armenian will watch this movie and hrant dink s familiy again we will lost visit istanbul for an armenian very dangerous she should be insane

  5. Raffi Bairamian said:

    God Bless you Suzanne for this work, I don’t think that this film ( like all others on Armenian Genocide ) will contribute in creating the guilt feeling in turks for the Genocide their ancestors commited against to the Armenians and push them to apologize from the Armenians.The turks are deniers and their culture is that of mass killings & hatred to the others.

  6. sandra said:

    be cool raffi PEACE AND LOVE
    arretes la haine qui est en toi
    pas la faute du peuple comme partout
    donc tu arrete de les hair c est pas bien d avoir un mauvais fond comme le tiens burk