“My Grandma’s Tattoos” film will be shown in Armenia

Film by Swedish-Armenian director Suzanne Khardalian has been presented in the USA, some European countries, in Lebanon and Turkey. Finally the film will be shown also in Armenia. The film presentation is initiated by Hay Dat office. On April 23 the film will be presented in Yerevan, “Moscow” cinema, on April 25 it will be presented in Vanadzor, on April 26 it will be presented in Gyumri and on April 28 the film will be shown in Stepanakert.
The author of the film will attend the presentations.
Suzanne 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 20 films that have been shown both in Europe and the U.S. They include “Back to Ararat” (1988), “Unsafe Ground” (1993), “The Lion from Gaza” (1996), “Her Armenian Prince” (1997), “From Opium to Chrysanthemums” (2000), “Where Lies My Victory” (2002), “I Hate Dogs” (2005), “Bullshit” (2006), and “Young Freud in Gaza” (2009).
As Armenian Weekly writes the story of “Grandma’s Tattoos” is a personal film about what happened to many Armenian women during the genocide. It is a ghost story—with the ghosts of the tattooed women haunting us—and a mystery film, where many taboos are broken. As no one wants to tell the reel and whole story, and in order to bring the pieces of the puzzle together, the director makes us move between different times and space, from today’s Sweden to Khardalian’s childhood in Beirut.
In the film we meet Grandma Khantoum’s sister, 98-year-old Lucia, who lives in Hollywood. Lucia, too, has those odd tattoos. She is willing to tell us only a part of the story. We also meet with Aunt Marie, Grandma’s only still-living child in Beirut. But Aunt Marie doesn’t know the whole story either. Grandma has never told it to her. It was forbidden to talk about the “unspeakable.” Aunt Marie has the same unpleasant memories as the rest of the family.
It’s finally Khardalian’s mother who tells the story about Grandma Khanoum, and about the Kurdish man who was supposed to her grandma escape the killings but instead decided to abduct her and keep her as his concubine. Grandma was only a child then. She had just turned 12. The words “Mummy, mummy help me” is the sentence that haunts Suzanne and her family.
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