1. Program
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  3. Film Series
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  5. We Are Our Memory
December 2023

We Are Our Memory

The Genocide as Past and Present in Transnational Armenian Cinema - 1915-2023
Curated by Gary Vanisian

The genocide of Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire is a historical fact that remains generally unrecognized to this day. People with Armenian identity, now scattered around the world, are united by this shared traumatic experience with the genocide functioning as a tragic, identity-forming moment. In relation to the aftermath of the Shoah, literary scholar Marianne Hirsch dubs this phenomenon "post-memory": the effect whereby the experiences of previous generations are transferred so profoundly to following generations that they are perceived as their own memories.

Transnational Armenian cinema has repeatedly dealt with the Aghet (the Armenian term for the genocide, "catastrophe"), especially since the mid-1960s, with notable examples including the universal cinematic dirge, Nahapet (1977), and the outstanding films Komitas (1988) and Հանդիպմ ցցահանդեսմ (Meeting in the Exhibition) (1966). Beginning with the collapse of the USSR, the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the Republic of Artsakh has created a new rupture in Armenian identity. Since September 2023, Armenian life there has become history. This film series brings together the work of remembering the "historical" genocide with the current tragedy in Artsakh and examines how transnational Armenian cinema has negotiated and can negotiate these traumatic experiences in the future.

Gary Vanisian, born in the Soviet SSR in 1987, is an author, filmmaker and film programmer, and works as project coordinator at Sinema Transtopia. He studied law and art history in Frankfurt am Main and Paris. In 2013, he co-founded the non-profit association Filmkollektiv Frankfurt in Frankfurt am Main and has been curating numerous film programmes since through its structure.

Funded by Stiftung Nord-Süd-Brücken with support from the BMZ and LEZ with support from the Land of Berlin



Henrik Malyan, Armenian SSR 1977, 92 Min., OV with English subs, digital
Suchen, Warten

Suchen, Warten

Searching, Waiting


Don Askarian, West Germany 1988, 95 Min., OV with English subs, digital