This film is based on the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire 1915, which resulted in the forced migration and diaspora of the Armenian minority. One day a young family man, Nazaret Manoogian, gets deported by the Turkish authorities together with all the other Armenian men from his native village of Mardin. He becomes a forced laborer and only survives the mass murder by chance and an act of kindness, but loses his family, speech and faith. One night the devastated Nazaret learns that his daughters may still be alive and didn't die like his wife from starvation, violence or rape on death marches. Nazaret goes on a quest to find them and travels from his small village through the Mesopotamian deserts to the sea, always looking for clues that might lead him to his children. Nazaret's epic journey will take him from Asia to America, from the end to a new beginning...

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Since I got to live in Turkey once for a year out of romance, I can honestly say that I love the place. I learned the language and developed an intense taste for Ezogelin and the ingenious music of Mercan Dede, Aynur Doğan and Ogün Sanlısoy. I got to know that the greatest poet of the 20th century - Nâzım Hikmet - was from Turkey. And I got to know that the one issue you cannot talk about is the Armenian genocide. One meets a teacher of English in Ankara or a martial arts instructor in Fethiye, one talks to Kurdish musicians in Diyarbakir or a CalState-educated engineer in Istanbul, and always encounters the same all-encompassing culture of denial – even though there is no discrimination against Armenians today, who have an active cultural life. However this is supposed to be a review. "The Cut" is the fictional story of Nazaret Manoukian's unlikely survival of being pressed into the Turkish army, where he works in road construction. Eventually, the Armenian men are forced to either convert to Islam or die. The man assigned to kill Nazaret just stabs his throat, piercing his vocal cords and turning him mute – which is what the title alludes to. Nazaret finds shelter with an Arab and works in his tannery. After the war is over, he learns that his twin daughters are still alive, and embarks on a long journey across the world to find them. Alas, what was designed by director Faith Akin to kindle a discussion of the Armenian genocide and was intended as a conclusion to his master pieces "Head On" (2004) and "The Edge of Heaven" (2007) is a failure. As noble as Akin's intentions are, the ingenuity and acting presence of his previous films is gone. Tahar Rahim is decidedly miscast for the main role, as brilliant as he might have been in "A Prophet" or "The Past". He is much too young and plays the part in a vacant, uninvolved manner. Ironically, Simon Abkarian, who would have been perfect, appears in a small supporting role. The horrors of the genocide, while shown in part, are actually downplayed so as not to completely offend Turkish viewers – which did not work at all and did not shelter Akin from intense criticism. For Western viewers, the imbalance between the rather short wartime story – which is of principal interest – and the long, long, loooong journey of the main character to find his daughters makes the film a bore. Were the approach to the genocide less timid, the weakness of the acting and script would be forgivable. But as it is, "The Cut" is nothing more than a interesting failure; a failure well worth seeing to understand how difficult a subject the Armenian genocide still is, but not worth seeing as a film. Hopefully, one day someone will find the courage and budget to adapt "The 40 Days of Musa Dagh" by Franz Werfel, the greatest and most inspiring story about this subject, published on the eve of Hitler's rise to power and a terrifying reminder of the shape of things to come back then and now.

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