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Ravished Armenia: Representing Genocide in Early American Cinema

Marie-Aude Baronian


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April 2023

Ravished Armenia: Representing Genocide in Early American Cinema

Ravished Armenia, the 1919 Hollywood film based on survivor Aurora Mardiganian’s memoir, was the first in the history of cinema to depict genocide on the big screen. Reaching critical and financial success in the US and abroad, the film helped raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide as well as funds to help Armenian orphans, yet it mysteriously disappeared in the 1930s and was all but forgotten until fragments reappeared decades later. Dr. Baronian explores the implications of this film, the making of it, its impact at the time, and the challenges of representing violence and mass atrocity through cinema.

Marie-Aude Baronian is an Associate Professor in Visual Culture and Film at the University of Amsterdam. She has written extensively on the relationship between images, archive, and testimony, on Armenian diasporic artistic practices, on memory, media and visual arts, on ethics and aesthetics, and on fashion and textiles. Her most recent monographic book is Screening Memory: The Prosthetic Images of Atom Egoyan (Belgian Royal Academy, 2017).

Topics: Arts/Culture Genocide History