Price: $310.00

    Code: 2409

    Directed by Suzanne Khardalian
    2011, 58 Minutes
    Purchase: $310 | Classroom rental: $125

    ** To order a home video DVD of Grandma's Tattoos for individual use, please contact us at (800) 723-5522.

    Grandma's Tattoos is a powerful documentary that reveals the fate of thousands of forgotten women, mostly teenagers and young girls, who survived the 1915 Armenian Genocide but were forced into prostitution by their captors. Many of these women were tattooed as a permanent mark of their status.

    Filmmaker Suzanne Khardalian begins the film by remembering her grandmother: "Grandma Khanoum was not like everyone else. She had blue tattoos on her face and hands. Strange marks that frightened us children… She despised physical contact. She never hugged anyone, never gave kisses. And she always wore gloves, which hid her hands and her tattoos, and her secret."

    Haunted by these memories, Khardalian embarks on a personal journey into her family history to investigate the truth behind her late grandmother. At first, no one wants to discuss it. Her grandmother never talked about that time with anyone. Her grandmother's sister, now 98 and living in the U.S., even describes the tattoos, which she also has as decoration, a fad, something that all young girls did at the time.

    Eventually small truths are revealed and pieces of the puzzle begin to come together. In 1919, just at the end of WWI, the Allied forces rescued nearly 100,000 Armenian girls and children who, during the war years, were forced to become prostitutes to survive, or had given birth to children after forced or arranged marriages or rape. These women were forcibly marked, tattooed, as property, the same way you mark cattle.

    Khardalian's grandmother, we learn, was 12 years old when a Kurdish man offered to protect her from the war around them. Instead, he abducted her and kept her as his concubine. Following the war, many of these women were viewed as impure and tainted, and often shunned by society.

    An important documentary work that breaks through decades of silence, Grandma's Tattoos tells a personal story that is indeed universal - the fate of women in conflicts and wars.

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    Highly recommended . Suitable for high school classes and for college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of violence, and Near Eastern studies, as well as general audiences.” - Anthropology Review Database

    " Recommended . Heartbreaking, mysterious and visually fascinating, this film gives a unique, faceted view of the experience of a subset of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide. It also highlights the legacy of suffering and shame that can be passed down through generations long after a genocide appears to have ended". - Educational Media Review Online