When I visited the Golden Apricot Festival in Yeravan a couple of weeks ago its was obvious that every second film project launched in the so-called industry section was meant to compete for the money that is reserved by many for 2015, 100 years after the Armenian Genocide, 1 to 1,5 million people are estimated to have been killed by order of the Ottoman government.
Armenians will do films, so will Turks, and Turks and Armenians together and all public broadcasters are expected to broadcast on the theme. Some maybe through thematic evenings? There will be a lot of journalism and debates about the official Turkish current denial to call what happened a genocide.
Well, there are other approaches and tv people could start by watching young Tülin Özdemir’s fine ”Beyond the Ararat”. It is a personal film, told by the director with a beautiful text and with her as the one who takes the spectator on a journey from her home in Brussels to Istanbul and from there to the Anatolia of her family – to end up in Yerevan, Armenia. Even if the film goes beyond the theme of the genocide, it has in its focus the young director’s painful search for identity, and wish to know more about what has apparently been a silenced taboo in her family.
On her way she meets women of same age as herself, she meets a grandmother in Anatolia who grieves her Osnan, and she listens to the words of the tragic legend about Tamara and Ali, who could not have each other due to their different origin, the Christian and the Muslim. It is a film that has its own sad tone and formidable images accompanied sometimes by quotes from Zabel Essayan’s ”Dans les ruines – le massacre d’Adana 1909”.
Belgium, 2013, 55 mins. Stenola Production, coprod. Associate Directors.