August 08, 2013

The Son Of The Olive Merchant (2011)

The Son Of The Olive Merchant (2011)
Directed by: Mathieu Zeitindjioglou
Country: Turkey / France

Review: ‘I know that the truth carries the misfortune. Yet, I am not ready to renounce it.’ This is how Mathieu Zeitindjioglou and his wife, Anna, start “The Son Of The Olive Merchant”, a homemade documentary about the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman army in 1915. During their honeymoon, the couple decided to make a trip to Turkey and visit several cities including Mathieu’s ancestors’ land, Ani, now a bunch of ruins. The film features a tale and some personal conclusions in animated form, impressive historical footage from the massacre, several Turkish citizens being interviewed, and images from the couple’s trip that includes friends (and their opinion on the matter) and visited places. “The Son Of The Olive Merchant” places the Turkish revisionism in the center of the debate, creating some awkward and sometimes funny situations. I’m thinking of a museum director who tries to explain his point of view, or even the simultaneously sad and risible comments that we can hear in the street interviews. These people grew up with the lies taught by their political leaders and there is very little we can do at this point. Technically, I didn’t find the film very appealing; the camera work is far from being perfect and the way the interviews were carried out leaves much to be desired. Nonetheless, these aspects didn't remove its effectiveness in denouncing the extreme nationalism in Turkey and the cynicism involved in one of the most barbarian genocides in the history of mankind.

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