Summary: overall unconvincing, technically weak, boring as
A couple of days ago, I found a DVD lying in my sister's room. This nondescript said Armenian Genocide, I got curious and popped it in to watch.
This is a visually boring documentary. It was very hard to keep your attention constant for the whole 2 hours, as you came to expect the same scripted pattern of zoom in and out, and pan shots on a large selection of otherwise interesting images. To me, the documentary quickly devolved into a stream of moving, animated images with running narration that definitely was learned, but added no value to the film.
The driving force was undoubtedly the narration and there is no real connection or correlation between the shots (very loosely used here) and the narration. In a way, the shots, almost all images and archive video fottage, are like forgettable supporting actors.
Apart from a few primary sources such as letters and first-person accounts, there are no other supporting sources or reference materials. Not even an interview with a historian, political commentator, or writer. Questions that came to my mind, especially in critical parts of the film: why doesn't he explore the reasons for why the discrimination started – causes, contexts etc? I barely knew anything about the whole topic, apart from a few items gleaned from recent news. Why were these things done? Why did the Turks do this? There must be some motivation! Anything, anything, just show or tell me anything. Explore! Something. As a special feature, there's a long, detailed interview with Yves Ternon, discussing the history and background to the Armenian question, as it's called. Now, why this wasn't incorporated or woven into the documentary storyline is a mystery and gross oversight.
This article deems the docu as one-sided, recommending instead The Armenian Revolt (1894-1920) as more balanced and includes the Turkish side of the story. And I find myself agreeing with that. Laurence Jordan ends up relying solely on one person's interviews – an aged, Armenian survivor of the genocide. This reeks of sensationalism. You just wonder, you couldn't get an Armenian historian, on both sides ie. affirming the genocide and perhaps a revisionist? Where's the historical fact?
Nowhere near the same caliber as The Corporation (review & analysis of that to follow).