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Film Review: The Cut
by Birgit Schrumpf

Director: Fatih Akin
Germany, France, Poland, Turkey, Canada, Italy

It is the year 1915, the Great Ottoman Empire is involved in World War I, and suddenly the Armenian community in southern Turkey is treated as an enemy. The young blacksmith Nazaret Manoogian (Tahar Rahim), together with the able men of the village, is forced to heavy labour in the desert. When refusing to give up their Christian faith, the group is savagely slaughtered by their guards. Miraculously, Nazaret is saved by Mehmet (Bartu Kucukcaglayan) who only pretends to have murdered him. The cut through his neck is deep, his vocal cords are badly damaged, he survives - but he remains mute!

Three years later, the Turks are defeated by the English. Of Nazaret’s family only his twin daughters are said to be still alive. Full of hope he goes on a frantic search, only to find out that they have been married-off to husbands in faraway Cuba from where they had again moved on. It is the start of his odyssey wandering the globe. Months turn into years. Nazaret is not giving up, finally reaching the shores of the American continent. He bravely trudges on and on, eventually arriving in North Dakota. On a cold, windswept road he sees a lone woman and calls out to her. He has come to the end of his journey.

Fatih Akin made an important statement with this ambitious historical family saga of  injustice of forced emigration and immigration, but also of hope for starting a new life. For Akin, who is of Turkish descend, it is “a very personal film” as the atrocities against the Armenians during World War I are still not openly discussed - and are often denied in the Turkish community.

With this epic drama he completes his trilogy of „Love, Death and Devil“. After the two powerful films Head-On, 2004, and The Edge of Heaven, 2007, The Cut shows how close „evil“ and „good“ can be found side by side. The film has been nominated for the CICAE Art Cinema Award.