Au-delà de l'Ararat
Belgium, 57 min
Departing Brussels, Tülin Ozdemir shoots a “road movie” on the train, all the way to her grandmother’s village in Anatolia, the borders of “her” Turkey. This filmed search for one's origins, enlivened by the sounds of the ancient songs shared by the two communities, is interspersed with encounters with Armenian women recalling the ongoing hardships of life in Turkish society since the 1915 genocide.
We start with the memory of Anaït, the little Armenian girl that Tülin Ozdemir knew in the village of Saint-Josse (Belgium) where she grew up. The little Christian girl was not “like them”. In order to identify the limits and the power of this family saying, the filmmaker takes the train to “her” Turkey, more precisely to Anatolia, the land of her ancestors stretching all the way to Mount Ararat, which forms a “natural” border with neighbouring Armenia. During this search for her origins, she meets Armenian and Turkish women, in Istanbul, in the region of Van, and finally beyond the Ararat. What exactly do they know of their differences, scared by what one community prefers to call the “great catastrophe” when the other side views it as genocide? Like the needle that embroiders the ‘oya’ (ornamental lace), this journey in the company of Anatolian women is accomplished in the silences of remembrance, sometimes enlivened by the wind, shrieking unjustly, or a song of lament: Ozdemir uses this most ancient oral tradition transmitted by the women as a genuine space for mourning, a heritage shared by two peoples.Emmanuel Chicon