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This film is based on the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire 1915, which resulted in the forced migration and diaspora of the Armenian minority. One day a young family man, Nazaret Manoogian, gets deported by the Turkish authorities together with all the other Armenian men from his native village of Mardin. He becomes a forced laborer and only survives the mass murder by chance and an act of kindness, but loses his family, speech and faith. One night the devastated Nazaret learns that his daughters may still be alive and didn't die like his wife from starvation, violence or rape on death marches. Nazaret goes on a quest to find them and travels from his small village through the Mesopotamian deserts to the sea, always looking for clues that might lead him to his children. Nazaret's epic journey will take him from Asia to America, from the end to a new beginning... Written by
The idea of returning to your roots as a way to discover yourself is always present in the films of Faith Akin. Akin's new film moves on a completely opposite path. This piece of work by Akin depicts a new maturity of style and narrative.
Akin's main interest in this movie is to make the lead protagonist identifiable to the audience. It is epic that Akin shows the search of a man across continents. It is supported by the idea of hope in time and life. This, to me, is the real strength of 'The Cut', which addresses the Armenian genocide.
Akin's writing is beautiful. He could have ended the movie at a happy note. But, he didn't. He feels committed to telling the truth to the audience. Therefore, he has written an end which is happy and sad at the same time. Everything else would have been dishonest.
The Cut has been filmed beautifully with an array of emotions filmed with perfect sense of cinema. The movie depicts the relentlessness of the landscapes in an emblematic way. On the other hand, the mercilessness of a nation that used chaos of war to wipe out a minority is portrayed with finesse. There are moments which linger in the memory of spectators even after they leave the auditorium. Especially, the sequence when Nazareth founds his sister in law is a moment that takes your breath away.
Tahar Rahim, the lead protagonist, is a terrific actor. We have all seen him in A Prophet and The Past. Rahim is an actor who knows how to radiate a cornucopia of emotions without speaking a single word. Rahim loses his speech quite early in the movie. Therefore, he acts in the movie through his gestures, with a sense of longing in his eyes, making his quest look emotionally stirring.
Any hiccups? Yes, there are few lows in the movie which cannot be ignored. The idea of all Armenian characters speaking English doesn't really work in favor of the movie. On the other hand, the latter half of the movie fails to depict the diaspora that succeeded the Armenian genocide.
Overall, Akin has weaved a significant event of genocide in history, usually ignored by West, into a magnificent film. It is an undeniably important film but doesn't impress like Akin's earlier works: 'The Edge of Heaven' and 'In July'.
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