German-born Turkish director Fatih Akin may not be a household name, but he is one of the more exciting international filmmakers out there; even his failures are interesting. Known for “Head On” and “The Edge Of Heaven” (two pictures that we named two of the best films of 2005 and 2008 respectively), his latest film, “The Cut” landed with a lot of drama last year. Set for a Cannes Film Festival premiere, Akin pulled the film at the very last minute and it ended up premiering in Venice later in the year. The director later explained the Cannes enthusiasm for the film was low because it was a creative gear shift—some had suggested it would be relegated to the Un Certain Regard section—so Akin took it to Venice where the organizers were more gung-ho about the film (read our review).
Featuring “A Prophet” star Tahar Rahim, the film is an epic drama about one man’s journey through the Ottoman Empire after surviving the 1915 Armenian genocide. It’s co-written by Armenian screenwriter, USC professor and Martin Scorsese collaborator Mardik Martin (“Raging Bull,” “Mean Streets,” “New York, New York.”). Here’s the synopsis:
One night, the Turkish police round up all the Armenian men in the city, including the young blacksmith, Nazaret Manoogian, who gets separated from his family. Years later, after managing to survive the horrors of the genocide, he hears that his twin daughters are still alive. Determined to find them, he sets off to track them down, his search taking him from the Mesopotamian deserts and Havana to the barren and desolate prairies of North Dakota. On this odyssey, he encounters a range of very different people: angelic and kind-hearted characters, but also the devil incarnate.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, so Akin’s film is well-timed. “The Cut” was an official selection of the Venice Film Festival, and is scheduled to open on Friday, September 18 in New York followed by a national release. Watch the first official U.S. trailer below and let us know what you think.