By Hambersom Aghbashian
Fatih Akin (born 25 August 1973 in Hamburg to parents of Turkish ethnicity). He is a film director, screenwriter and producer. He attended the ‘Hochschule fur bildende Kunste Hamburg’ to study visual communication and graduated in 2000. He has been married since 2004 to German-Mexican actress Monique Obermüller and lives in Hamburg- Altona, where he also grew up. His brother, Cem Akin is an actor. Akin made his debut as director of a full length film as early as 1998 with ‘Short Sharp Shock’, which brought him the “Bronze Leopard” award at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland and the “Pierrot”, the Bavarian Film Award for Best New Director in Munich the same year. Since then he has directed feature films such as ‘In July‘ in 2000, ‘We forgot to go back’ in 2001 and ‘Salino’ in 2002. His fourth work, Head-On, was a major success in 2004 and received several prizes, among them the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival and the “Best Film” and the “Audience Award” at the 2004 European Film Awards. In 2005 he directed a documentary about the Istanbul music scene, “Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul”. In 2007, Akin’s ‘The Edge of Heaven’, a German-Turkish cross-cultural tale of loss, mourning and forgiveness, won the prize for best screenplay at the 60th Cannes Film Festival in 2007. On October 24, 2007, the same film was awarded the first edition of the ‘LUX prize for European cinema’ by the European Parliament. His most recent film is the comedy ‘Soul Kitchen’ (2009). He has said he chose this more light-hearted film because he needed a break after making the “tough” films ‘Head-On’ and ‘The Edge of Heaven’ before making his next planned film The Devil. “But”, he says, “now I feel ready to finish the trilogy”. In 2012 his documentary film ‘Polluting Paradise’ was screened in the Special Screenings section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. His film ‘The Cut” has been selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the ’71st Venice International Film Festival’.
The Cut is a 2014 internationally co-produced drama film directed by Fatih Akın. It was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. The film is bout the lives and experiences of a young Armenian by the name of Nazareth Manoogian, in the light of the Armenian Genocide and its repercussions in different parts of the world. The film is completely dedicated to the Armenian Genocide and , through the life and experiences of the main character Manoogian it goes through many details and shows the behavior of the Ottoman Soldiers and the forced islamization of the Armenian inhabitants and the execution of those who didn’t convert. Some soldiers and convicts, recruited solely to kill Armenians. The convict responsible for cutting the throat of Nazareth could not go all the way with it and made only a small cut on his throat, which sufficed to cause Nazareth to faint, thereby survive the massacre. However, while saving his life, the cut also made him mute. This “cut” not only symbolizes Nazareth’s becoming mute but also his being cut from his life and family and the Armenian society’s silence about the Genocide at the time. “The Cut” which won at the Venice Film Festival (La Biennale), the world’s oldest film festival, was written by Fatih Akin and Mardik Martin, an American screenwriter of Armenian descent.
In an interview with “Open Democracy” on April 21, 2015, and answering a question: why did he, as a filmmaker of Turkish origin, choose to make a film about the Armenian genocide? Fatih Akin said: I’m a child of Turkish parents. The Armenian genocide is something very deep and immovable in our culture and history. It’s a blind spot where not so many people know about it, and not so many people talk about it. One of my main reasons for doing the film is to produce something where people come out and inform themselves, discuss, and start to create a room where they can reflect on their own history and trauma. And as an answer for ‘How do you think it will be received in Turkey?’He said: ‘I think the society is ready for such a film. I really do’. (1)
On October 29, 2015, the Washington post wrote “In an epic that stretches from eastern Turkey in 1915 to North Dakota eight years later, “The Cut” presents a haunting portrait of what has come to be known as the Armenian genocide and its aftermath. Written and directed by Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin — best known for his fervid 2004 romantic drama “Head-On” — it’s the first film by a director of Turkish heritage to candidly take on this historical tragedy.” (2)