Thursday, September 15, 2011


Cine Europa 14
Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex

This ambitious project directed by legendary Italian directors/brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani had all the potential to be classified as an epic. Yet somehow it fails miserably. The Italian film focuses on a horrible event in world history - the genocide of Armenians by the troops of the Ottoman Turkish empire in 1915.

The story is concentrated on the Avakians, an affluent Armenian family. They continue to live their comfortable lifestyle convinced that the rising Turkish hostility towards Armenians won't affect their existence. Until one day, the Turkish troops raided their house and brutally slaughter all the male members of the family. The females along with young children were herded across the desert to Aleppo, Syria where they would eventually be massacred.

While "The Lark Farm" is peppered with moments of harrowing tragedy, the film gets weighed down by soap opera style subplots. One involves Nunik (Spanish actress Paz Vega) as an Armenian beauty who winds up romantically linked to two Turkish soldiers. Another silly side plot is the planned rescue of the Avakians by a group of Turkish beggars who were employed by the family. Such lifeless shenanigans ultimately strip the film of the emotional resonance one expects from this sort of movie. The overwrought performances are uniformly undermined by terrible dialogue, very melancholic music at the most inopportune time and bad editing.

The film's cast involves a number of actors from different countries, yet they are truly hindered by a poorly written script. Such a pity since there are very few films which dare to tackle this tragedy. A horrific chapter in history that is worth telling for the world seems to have forgotten about it. The film ends with a statement that says that the trial for the war criminals who perpetuated this injustice was indefinitely suspended. To this day, the descendants of the victims still seek justice for this genocide. Sad!

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