Film Archive


German Competition 2016
The Others Ayşe Polat

Villagers in the east Anatolian region of Van, once the peaceful home of Armenians, Kurds and Turks, talk about the repressed history of a genocide and a complex conflict.

The Others

Documentary Film
66 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mehmet Aktaş, Said Nur Akkuş, Ayşe Polat
Ayşe Polat
Meryem Yavuz, Armin Dierolf
Eyüp Zana Ekinci
Ayşe Polat
Mustafa Baydemir, Oktay Çağla
Of course reality is more complicated, but the director uses a clever narrative ploy to introduce us to the past of the former Armenian province of Van in Eastern Anatolia. It’s the only place where the Van cat is found, an almost mythical animal and a cultural symbol that unites Armenians, Kurds and Turks alike. It’s via this historical code that the film depicts the sorrowful events of 1915: the Armenian genocide. They are still present today in the memory of the Kurds who took over the villages of the deported – traces the director follows like an archaeologist who uncovers a painful, difficult and suppressed history layer by layer.

What’s left of the days when the people here lived together as neighbours and not as witnesses of ethnic deviation? Dilapidated Armenian churches, pilgrimage sites, and the intricate family stories of survivors assimilated by force. Their descendants still shy from public avowals of their ancestry. Even worse: the Armenians are labelled “the others” even if they are part of one’s own biography, one’s genetic heritage. Factual in style, with quiet, observant camerawork and without pointing the finger at anyone, Ayşe Polat manages to take an authentic look at an open-ended historical conflict with “The Others”.

Matthias Heeder

Nominated for DEFA Sponsoring Prize, Goethe-Institute Documentary Film Prize