Turkish-German director chooses tricky Armenian subject matter
In an interview with Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, Akin said instead he chose to make a still potentially controversial film, “The Cut”, which deals with the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during World War I which are widely seen as a genocide.
He said he had finished a script based on Dink’s work for Agos, but he had to drop the project after the Turkish actors he approached for the role found it “too harsh”.
“I couldn’t persuade any Turkish actors to play Hrant’s role. All of them found the script too harsh. That’s why I had to cancel the project,” he said, without naming the actors.
“I did not want any actor to get hurt. But it was important to make a ‘Turkish film’ about Hrant. An American or French actor could not play Hrant. We have to deal with this issue ourselves.
“But obviously time is not yet ripe for it.”
Dink, 52, was shot dead in broad daylight by a teenage ultranationalist outside the offices of the Agos newspaper. Akin’s difficulties in making a film about his life underline the continued sensitivity of the case.
He had campaigned for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, but incurred the wrath of Turkish nationalists for saying the 1915 massacre amounted to a genocide.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million people were killed during World War I as the Ottoman Empire was falling apart, a claim supported by several other countries but long disputed by Turkey.
Akin however said Turkey was now ready for a film like “The Cut”, which tells the story of an Armenian man who survives the 1915 killings and embarks on a journey across the world to find his daughter.
“The Cut”, starring French actor Tahar Rahim, will premiere at the 71st Venice International Film Festival in late August.
Dink’s assassination sent shockwaves through Turkey and grew into a wider scandal with accusations of a state conspiracy. A 17-year-old dropout was found guilty of the murder but the Dink family have always insisted that higher forces were involved.
Turkey’s top court however ruled earlier this month that the investigation into the killing of Dink had been flawed, paving the way for potential further trials against new suspects.