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Interview with film director Fatih Akin

FATIH AKIN – THE CUT
We met with the film director, Fatih Akin, to know more about his last film, The Cut. With no pretention he talks freely and with passion about his movie, an historical drama about the Armenian genocide. He explains why he liked working with the screenwriter Martin Mardik and the actor Tahar Rahim.

Fatih Akin (left) and moderator at ZFF Master class - copyright ZFF

Fatih Akin (left) and moderator at ZFF Master class – copyright ZFF

V: How did the crowd welcome your film at the 10th Zurich Film Festival Gala Première?

F: I think it is divided, you know. I think most of them liked the film. When I show it in the cinemas, I have the feeling the reaction of the audience is mostly strong and people are moved by it. It was a bit surprising for me after the reviews in Venice, I did not expect them that bad. The reviews were very harsh. I think they expected another movie or another style. I expect other reviews. So, we both misunderstood each other!

 

V: The Cut is the last film of your trilogy. With the last two you won many awards, what do you expect from the Cut?

F: I expect nothing. I expect that the audience takes and adapts the film and that the film hopefully can set an impact. That people after watching the film inform themselves more about what happened 100 years ago.

When I see a movie and there is something which is interesting to me and I don’t know much about it, I inform myself afterward. So movies can inspire me. I get inspired by movies and I want to inspire other people.

 

V: It took you 7 years to complete. how to you feel? With all the research you have done you almost could write a book about the subject.

F: I don’t feel I am an expert but I know some stuff. I was visiting an old Armenian, an artist three days ago in Berlin. He saw the film and wanted to meet me. He is 98 years old. I visited him in his house. He had portrays with a guy called Armin Wegner. He was a friend of him. Armin Wegner was a very important photographer on the Armenian genocide. He made some of the most important pictures. They really inspired me how to create certain things. And he asked me “Do you know are Armin Wegner?” I said “For sure I know him, I read all his books and saw all his pictures.”  He and the younger journalist, also Armenian, they were so surprised that I knew the guy and I said “Listen guys, I am doing such a film, I have to know this guy.” But they were saying Nobody knows them. And that was surprising for me that no one knows Armin T. Wegner.

 

V: Do you feel tired after so many years, was it too long for you?

F: No, it was an important thing in my life to learn for myself too. The Armenian Genocide, my people did that. The nation, where my family is from, did that. And I did not do it but I have a responsibility for it. This is not a waste of time to learn about the things that happened.

 

V: Do you hope to change the mind of the Turkish people with this movie?

F: One film can not do this. One film alone can not change the mind of the Turkish people but it can set an impact. It can be a beginning, it can help to create a room. And in this room people can try to learn more about it.

 

V: Many important people came to help you with the film like Scorcese, Costa Gavras and Mardik Martin. Who do you think you could not have not done it without?

F: Mardik was. I wrote the script with him together. Mardik was very important. Also because he is Armenian and he is older than me. So I felt like that he has a certain wisdom maybe and it was good to have an Armenian to judge me and to judge the film in a right way. That was very helpful for me. I wanted to make it much more political, much more dogmatic and it was Mardik who had the wisdom and said “Make more a film about it and less a political statement.”

 

V: Do you think you did the right thing in listening to him?

F: I guess so, my instinct said yes.

 

V: What was the most powerful scene you had shot and the most memorable moment during the filming?

F: The scene with Chaplin. The scene was difficult to shoot because we had to shoot it three times because we had a damage on the close up. And the second time we did it the projector was not working. Ah! I had to do it three times. That I think it was the killing scene. This was difficult because it was 40 degrees and it was very far away to get there and all the actors were bound all together with a rope, they could not move. Ah that was terrible!

 

V: Why do you think your main actor Tahar Rahim was the best for playing Nazaret?

F: I saw him in the Prophet by Jacques Audiard. I was in the movies, saw the film and I was so impressed, very moved by it. I thought this is my Nazaret, this is the guy I want to work with.

 

V: Thank You.

 

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