For filmmaker Naré Mkrtchyan, April 24, 2015, was an important day. It was the 100th Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. In 1915, Turkey and the Ottoman Empire invaded Western Armenia and murdered 1.5 million Armenians. In a stroke of divine luck, Naré’s great-grandparent’s survived and fled in what is now known as the Armenian Diaspora.
As a child, Naré was taken aside and told that her family name was not hers and that she was Armenian. Naré’s film The Other Side of Home follows her as she travels to Turkey for 100th commemoration of this day. Her documentary not only gives the details of this tragic event, but she goes on to show what Turkish citizens believe about the Armenian people.
Today, in Turkey, it is illegal to speak ill of the country or, as the law says, “insult Turkishness.” A Turkish writer was murdered in the streets for using the word “genocide.” As Naré interviews random citizens, they either don’t believe the genocide ever took place, or can’t say publicly out of justified paranoia and certain death or imprisonment.
“Naré’s great-grandparent’s survived and fled in what is now known as the Armenian Diaspora.”
Naré then interviews her great-grandmother, who met her husband (Naré’s great-grandfather) while fleeing the violence. Tears begin to fall the moment she recounts witnessing the murders. She ends by saying, “I envy those people who haven’t seen it.”
Naré Mkrtchyan’s The Other Side of Home is another heartfelt account of a horrendous event that happened over a century ago. Without the aid of video, social media…and even photography, the fear is this moment in history will be forgotten, and one of the most severe crimes of humanity will be lost forever.
As a documentary, Naré Mkrtchyan, with writer/editor Amy Rosner, beautifully piece together history, both past and present, to tell the story. Using professionally shot footage of Naré’s travel, piecing it together with on-the-street interviews, and then adding news footage of the world recognizing the genocide, The Other Side of Home is a poignant account of this event—worthy of showing in classrooms around the world.
If it weren’t for films like The Other Side of Home and Map of Salvation, I would have gone through life not knowing about the Armenian Genocide of 1915. It simply can’t be ignored.
"…a Turkish writer was murdered in the streets for using the word 'genocide.'"