Fatih Akın’s movie on the Armenian question

Fatih Akın’s movie on the Armenian question

I watched Fatih Akın’s film “The Cut,” and there is no reason why this film should not be released in Turkey.

Yes, there are disturbing scenes: there is rape, there is slaughter. Yes, the atrocities committed by the Turks are present.

But this film is not one that attempts to stamp or abuse all of these issues. It is not trying to say: “Look, what kind of genocidal people these Turks are.”

There are good Turks also in the film, there are signs in the film that the massacres were not systematic. There are references in the film that most of the rapes and massacres stemmed from deserters. The film also shows how Turks were subject to attacks while leaving Arabian lands. There are outcries in the film that cruelty and brutality does not have a race.

There are of course deficiencies in the film. The biggest one is that the film does not say one word concerning why the Ottoman administration of the time launched those unacceptable practices against the Armenians.  

In the film, everything starts in 1915.

Director Fatih Akın, on this shortcoming, said, “I did not make a genocide movie. I am telling the story of an Armenian ironsmith from Mardin who has no knowledge of any political development. I viewed the events from his window. For him, everything started in 1915. That’s the reason I started there.”

Only the first 40 minutes of the film depict “the atrocities the Turks committed against the Armenians.” The rest focuses on the man searching for his family, a journey that starts in the Middle East and takes him all the way to Cuba and the United States.

We can say this film is more of a “search film.”

The English name of the film is “The Cut.” It will be released in Turkey as “Kesik” (The Cut).

Tahar Rahim, the French actor of Algerian descent, does a good job in portraying the Armenian ironsmith from Mardin. Also featuring in the film is the actor of Armenian descent, Kevork Malikyan, who was born in Diyarbakır.

The soundtrack of the film is also very good. Armenian requiems and lullabies are abundant throughout the movie.

This film is very much out of the box compared to Akın’s other movies. It has an epic style that tries to move you, make you think and be poignant. He attempts to produce a movie similar to Roman Polonski’s “Pianist,” but fails in my opinion.

The film is 2 hours 28 minutes in length. It is an expensive film as well, costing around $15 million, which is three times more expensive than his last movie. Still, the setting, cinematography and costumes are perfect.

All the Armenians in the film speak English. Turks, on the hand, speak Turkish. Well, the Arabs are also speaking Arabic, but the fact that Armenians speak English seems to generate a prejudice from the start. Fatih Akın said the Armenians in the film were speaking English because of technical reasons.

The festival audience liked the film. There was a long applause after it ended. An Armenian woman sitting next to me could not stop crying throughout the movie.

However, film critics did not like the movie that much.

Among the viewers was Hrank Dink’s widow, Rakel Dink. I asked her how she liked it. She said, “It was moving. I cried during the whole movie. It was depicted beautifully, the actors were perfect. I hope this film causes empathy.”

Fatih Akın said, “The German press is writing and concluding that this film will not be shown in Turkey, that Turks would not allow it. We should not confirm these comments. This film has to be released in Turkey.”

The director also said this about the film’s release in Turkey: “This is a movie... Let people watch it and then they can react after watching the film. Those who do not like it or who oppose it should come out and do so. But, prejudice should not be the only motivation, without watching it. That is my only wish.”