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The Politics of Commemoration: The Armenian Genocide on TV

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Bernhard Fulda.

The Public and Popular History seminar will kick off its annual programme with a session entitled: The Politics of Commemoration – The Armenian Genocide on TV, involving a screening of Aghet (Armenian for ‘catastrophe’), followed by a discussion with its Director, Eric Friedler, this coming Tuesday, 26 October, in the Mong Hall, Sidney Sussex College, starting at 4.30 pm. The award-winning documentary Aghet has succeeded in doing what no historical monograph on the Armenian genocide has so far managed to do: to move the first genocide of the twentieth century into the limelight of public debate – even in Turkey. First screened in Germany earlier this year, it attracted high-profile critical acclaim (including winning this year’s National Television Award), and is since having an impact internationally, too. The English version of the documentary was screened on Capitol Hill, Washington to members of the US House of Representatives and the Senate this summer. There are now calls to have it broadcast on PBS . Nobel Prize Laureate Günter Grass demanded a public apology from the Turkish government in a recent lecture held in Turkey, referring to the documentary and its presentation of ‘irrefutable documents’. This received coverage even in the Turkish mass media, otherwise notoriously reluctant to engage with the topic.

Eric Friedler, director and producer of numerous award-winning historical documentaries, is currently Head of Special Projects at NDR , a German public broadcaster with a long tradition of producing pioneering documentaries. He will discuss his approach to the topic, the history of the film’s production, its particular aesthetic and narrative structure, and his views of the reception the documentary has enjoyed.

This talk is part of the Public and Popular History series.

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