I feel responsible for this dark chapter in Turkish history: Fatih A

Hindustan Times, India
Sept 4 2014

I feel responsible for this dark chapter in Turkish history: Fatih
Akin on The Cut

Gautaman Bhaskaran,
Hindustan Times Venice, September 04, 2014

Moviemaker Fatih Akin, born to Turkish parents, lives in Germany. His
latest work, The Cut, just screened at the 71st edition of the Venice
International Film Festival, which is now on. The final part of a
trilogy, called Love, Death and the Devil, The Cut tackles the 1915
Armenian genocide that took place in the Ottoman Empire and in which
1.5 million men, women and children died.

Akin’s hero in The Cut is Nazaret, played by that brilliant
French-Algerian actor, Tahar Rahim (A Prophet), who is separated from
his wife and two twin daughters and forced into back-breaking labour.
Years later, when World War I ends, Nazaret, travels from country to
country, continent to continent trying to find his lost family. His
journey takes him to Germany, Cuba, Malta and the US.

Moviemaker Fatih Akin, born to Turkish parents, lives in Germany. His
latest work, The Cut, just screened at the 71st edition of the Venice
International Film Festival, which is now on. The final part of a
trilogy, called Love, Death and the Devil, The Cut tackles the 1915
Armenian genocide that took place in the Ottoman Empire and in which
1.5 million men, women and children died.

Akin’s hero in The Cut is Nazaret, played by that brilliant
French-Algerian actor, Tahar Rahim (A Prophet), who is separated from
his wife and two twin daughters and forced into back-breaking labour.
Years later, when World War I ends, Nazaret, travels from country to
country, continent to continent trying to find his lost family. His
journey takes him to Germany, Cuba, Malta and the US.

The Cut is a very personal film for Akin, because “I feel responsible
for this dark chapter in Turkish history. Mind you the genocide
happened with Germany witnessing it. I am Turkish and I now live in
Germany, and these make me in some way responsible for the terrible
episode.”

What really disturbed Akin for many, many years was that nothing was
spoken about the genocide, nothing written, and people, including his
family, lived as if nothing ever happened in 1915. “Others may or may
not agree with me – and this includes my own father — but I call it
genocide. The greatest challenge for me, therefore, was to try and
make a movie that will convince my father. So The Cut is very personal
for me,” Akin avers.

Yes, but what about the young people in Turkey. Do they admit that it
was indeed a genocide? Do they at all care? “I think they do. A civil
movement began in 2007 following the murder of the Armenian
journalist, Hrant Dink, by a teenage Turkish nationalist, and a lot of
young people are part of this movement. They stage plays, write
articles, organise debates and discussions – all in to order to set
right a wrong. All this is pushing Ankara to agree that there was a
massacre of Armenians. My film can be seen as part of this movement,
although I am not a part of it. I have not spearheaded it in any sort
of way.”

Is there regret, even vague regret in Turkey? Akin says that there is
no regret – as of now – but there is reflection. “Everything begins
with reflection… This is human psychology. If there is a trauma,
reflection is the first step towards reconciliation and admittance and
solution.”

Akin adds, “We are a result of our past. We have to put our past in
order. Otherwise there will not be any peace in the present. This is
why there is so much of problem in the Middle East.”

For Akin, The Cut is not only about trying to use cinema as one step
towards helping people realise the horrendous crimes they could have
committed, but also a “personal journey” through the kind of movies he
loved, Westerns especially, and the directors he has always admired.
The work of Elia Kazan’s America, America, that of Sergio Leone (the
way he framed his shots) and those of Martin Scorsese have deeply
influenced his craft. “I wrote The Cut with Mardik Martin, who also
penned Scorsese’s Mean Street and the first draft of Raging Bull.
Martin is an Armenian.”

Akin researched for almost seven years for The Cut and found the
diaries of many Armenians who migrated to Havana in the early 1920s,
and the diaries contained elaborate details about death camps and
death marches. Armenian women and children were forced to walk without
food and water to the Syrian desert, and most of them died. Men were
conscripted into the army or had to do build roads with very little
nourishment.

From: Baghdasarian

http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/worldcinema/i-feel-responsible-for-this-dark-chapter-in-turkish-history-fatih-akin-on-the-cut/article1-1259862.aspx

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