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Ranjan recommends a personal favourite, Fatih Akin's The Cut

Unlike the Holocaust and other disturbing moments in history, the Armenian genocide under Ottoman rule during the First World War has rarely been dramatized on celluloid. Fatih Akin takes up this underreported piece of history in which approximately 1.5 million Armenians were systematically massacred by following Nazaret, a blacksmith who is forced out of his home along with other Armenians into a death march. How he miraculously survives, loses his voice, and joins a gang of Ottoman deserters to eventually find a safe haven in a faraway town where he learns that his two daughters are still alive constitute the first half of the film. The second half takes him across Lebanon, Cuba, and ultimately North Dakota in the US in search of his missing daughters.

German-Turkish auteur Fatih Akin spins a tale of epic proportions that showcases not human resilience so much as it does chance encounters and remarkable coincidences, thus stripping away the heroic quality that we generally associate with epics – and in this effort, the performance of the French actor Tahar Rahim in the role of the mute protagonist contributes significantly to bring out the pathos of the tale. You wonder if he is the same guy who later played the suave, cold-blooded serial killer Charles Shobraj in the BBC series THE SERPENT.

Don’t go by the ratings and reviews. Check up THE CUT (Germany-France, 2014) on your own and immerse yourself in an unforgettable cinematic experience. Streaming on MUBI.

Ranjan Das is a Mumbai based filmmaker & faculty.

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