ISTANBUL—“Grandma’s Tattoos,” the groundbreaking documentary chronicling the lives of tattooed Genocide survivors by Swedish-Armenian filmmaker Suzanne Khardalian will be screened in Istanbul on Thursday and Friday, reported Hurriyet Daily News.
The film will be part of the 10th International Filmmor Festival and will screen at Istanbul’s AFM Fitaş Beyoğlu movie theater.
Khardalian said she was delighted her film would reach Turkish audiences. “My film might serve as a platform to invite dialogue, to discuss issues that are very difficult. It is actually an invitation to deal with our deep-rooted taboos, taboos that have crippled us, both Armenians and Turks,” reported Hurriyet.
Khardalian said she was also a bit nervous because the film was a very personal story. “When making this film, I understood after long deliberation and reflection that I had to be in this. Although the film is about my grandma, it is as much about me. It is about my reality today.”
She said rapes and traumas of women deeply concerned her as a female director, because her grandmother was exposed to violence and her body was tattooed during the events of 1915.
“To be born as a girl was a tragedy for her. I can still hear her cursing me, and I did not like her. When I found out the reality, I felt enormous shame,” she said.
“I have never been to Turkey. But let me tell to you that like all Armenians I know the geography by heart,” Khardalian said.
Khardalian is an independent filmmaker and writer. She studied journalism in Beirut and Paris and worked as a journalist in Paris until 1985 when she started to work on films. She also holds a Master’s Degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and contributes articles to different journals. She has directed more than twenty films that have been shown both in Europe and the US.
“Grandma was abducted and kept in slavery for many years somewhere in Turkey. She was also forcibly marked, -tattooed – as a property, the same way you mark cattle. The discovery of the story has shaken me. I share the shame, the guilt and anger that infected my grandma’s life. Grandma Khanoum’s fate was not an aberration. On the contrary tens of thousands of Armenian children and teenagers were raped and abducted, kept in slavery,” explained Khardalian.
“Grandma’s Tattoos” was screened in San Francisco, Westwood, Glendale, Boston, New Jersey, Michigan and New York in December. It was also broadcast on Al Jazeerah English in January.