German-Turkish director Fatih Akin’s epic tale of one man’s decade-long search for his twin daughters segues from the brutalities and atrocities of wartime genocide into a drawn-out odyssey of human cruelty and generosity, which is punctuated by repeated disappointments. The Cut begins with its protagonist, a Christian Armenian called Nazareth, taken away as forced labour for the Ottoman army after it joins Germany and Austria-Hungary in the First World War.
The film’s opening half-hour is so brutal that it is a relief when the mood lightens and Nazareth’s fortunes start to turn. He finds shelter with an Arabic-speaking soap merchant and begins a prolonged search for his twin daughters when finally he learns they are still alive. Through manual jobs, luck and sheer tenacity, during his travels across Cuba and the US, the mute Nazareth never ceases in his quest to be reunited with his family. The film gives a stark reading of all the horrors of the human condition but Tahar Rahim successfully brings pathos and warmth to an outstanding central performance that transcends dialogue.
The Cut is available on DVD from Soda Pictures.
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