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THE CUT is Fatih Akin's epic drama about one man's journey through the Ottoman Empire after surviving the 1915 Armenian genocide. Deported from his home in Mardin, Nazareth (Tahar Rahim, A Prophet) moves onwards as a forced laborer. When he learns that his twin daughters may still be alive, his hope is revived and he travels to America, via Cuba, to find them. His search takes 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.
Fatih Akin's THE CUT is a genuine, hand-made epic, of the type that people just don't make anymore. In other words, a deeply personal response to a tragic historical episode, that has great intensity, beauty and sweeping grandeur. This picture is very precious to me, on many levels. --Martin Scorsese
Heartfelt… Ambitious… Courageous --The Guardian
An Astonishing Movie --Lyons Den Radio
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The Cut is based on meticulous research of the Armenian genocide; it had the enthusiastic participation of many Armenians and Armenian Americans (notably Scorsese’s scriptwriter, Mardik Martin). But this is not a film "about" the Armenian genocide, the direct portrayal of which occupies less than half the film (the remainder is devoted to Nazaret Manoogian's search for his twin daughters). It is this "second half" of the film that has left some viewers complaining about a lack of plot. But for the attentive viewer, there are many treasures here.
More than a “mere” historical drama, The Cut is both a morality play of sorts and an homage to Akin’s cinematic inspirations from Chaplin to John Ford. The obvious moral content concerns the genocide itself, and the film offers multiple please for understanding and forgiveness rather than revenge; in one scene, Nazaret stops with his hand raised to literally throw stones at the now-defeated Ottomans, a clear reference to his own namesake's injunction not to "cast the first stone." But film's portrayal of evil (and the devil and theodicy and proper human action) is not confined to the obvious or the horrendous; in this film, small choices end up making all the difference. Watch it carefully and you'll see! The cinematography is beautiful and comes through even on the small screen.
I have not watched the original English version, but instead the Armenian-dubbed version with English subtitles; for me the range of languages in the film is part of its attraction (languages I could identify included Turkish, Arabic, Spanish, and finally, indeed, some very American English).
I just found it odd that the missing daughter was later found in an American western state. I didn't think that the Armenians were settled there.