Foreign Policy Blogs

Ararat (2002)

By Sean Patrick Murphy
This movie is terrible.
It tries desperately to convey the horror of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 yet it misses the mark by a country mile.
The audience is supposed to be engaged by the characters and the intersecting story lines and yet the acting is mediocre and the drama heavy handed.
There is a film-within-a-film but they are both B movies.
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The scenes of Turks raping and massacring helpless Armenians are very low-budget and campy, sort of Keystone Kops meets Schindler’s List.
Even the music is over-the-top dramatic.
This film tries to bludgeon the audience with the truth about the genocide, but it comes off as preachy and ham-fisted.
While well-known actors like Eric Bogosian and Christopher Plummer do their part, they cannot save this clunker of a movie.
David Alpay plays the earnest, intense young son of an art historian played by Arsinée Khanjian. They both overact.
The fact that Turkey refuses to acknowledge the genocide is truly one of the great shames of our times. It’s no accident that the oil pipeline running through from Azerbaijan to Turkey crosses through Georgia and not Armenia.

Ararat (2002)

That being said, this film is important because it addresses a genocide that has been largely overlooked.
“Who after all speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” is a phrase attributed to Adolf Hitler by Armenian historians. Apparently he hoped the world would forget the 6 million people he killed much in the way it forgot the 1 million Armenians who were slaughtered.
is available to rent.
Murphy can be reached at: [email protected]



Sean Patrick Murphy

Sean Patrick Murphy is a graduate of Bennington College, where he majored in politics and Latin American literature. He has worked for Current History magazine, Physicians for Human Rights, and Citizens for Global Solutions (formerly the World Federalist Association). He lives outside Philadelphia.

Areas of Focus:
Cinematography; Independent Films; Documentary;