Stories We Don’t Tell: Trauma, History, and the Essay Film
Their reflectiveness and subjectivity make the essay film an ideal mode to deal with personal and collective memories, histories and traumas. I will be examining several essayistic films that circle around the same historical trauma from different angles. In films by descendants of Armenian genocide survivors, filmmakers are questioning what this means for their identity. In films made by Turkish grandchildren of Armenians who had been adopted and/or converted in Turkey, filmmakers try to uncover an unspoken past. By analysing these films, I will contemplate the possibility of reconciling with a traumatic past through essay films, both on a personal and perhaps a national level.
Melis Behlil is an Associate Professor of Cinema Studies and Chair of Radio, Television and Cinema Department at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey. Her areas of research interest are media industries, production studies, contemporary cinema in Turkey, and subjective documentaries. Her book, Hollywood is Everywhere: Global Directors in the Blockbuster Era has been published by Amsterdam University Press in 2016. In addition to teaching and other academic duties, she writes film reviews for various publications, co-hosts a weekly radio show, and is a member of the Turkish Film Critics Association.