My Son Shall Be Armenian

My Son Shall Be Armenian

                                My Son Shall Be Armenian
| 1 h 20 min

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Exploring the question of Armenian identity, My Son Shall Be Armenian follows filmmaker Hagop Goudsouzian, who travels with five Montreal men and women of Armenian descent to the land of his ancestors in search of survivors of the 1915 genocide. Through interviews with elders and the touching accounts of his fellow travellers, Goudsouzian has crafted a dignified and poignant film on the need to make peace with the past in order to turn toward the future. In French with English subtitles.

To be fulfilled one must understand and embrace one’s roots regardless of how painful that process may be. Cultural memory can be a thing of beauty but it can also suffocate you. In this enthralling film we follow several Canadians of Armenian descent as they visit Armenia to try and re-connect with its past, and then move on.

Albert Ohayon
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My Son Shall Be Armenian, Hagop Goudsouzian, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • participation
    Lousnak Abdalian
    Martine Batani
    Gabriella Djerrahian
    Arudz Goudsouzian
    Patrick Masbourian
    Garo Shamlian
    Mariam Avoyan
    Manoushag Der Stepanian
    Gulenia Dzerouni
    Hagop Khayalyan
    Movsess Makhoulian
  • director
    Hagop Goudsouzian
  • researcher
    Hagop Goudsouzian
  • script
    Hagop Goudsouzian
    Georgette Duchaine
  • director of photography
    Alberto Feio
  • supplementary footage
    Lousnak Abdalian
    Martine Batani
    Gabriella Djerrahian
    Garo Shamlian
  • stills photography
    Patrick Masbourian
    Hagop Goudsouzian
    Jean-Denis Daoust
  • sound
    Jean-Denis Daoust
  • editing
    André Corriveau
  • narration script
    Michel Langlois
  • sound editing
    Leopoldo Gutierrez
  • sound editing - assistance
    Louis Desparois
  • production manager
    Jelena Popovic
    Sylvie Lapointe
  • production assistant
    Laurent Peyre
  • location consultant
    Nubar Goudsouzian
    Verjine Svazlian
  • interpreter
    Arpi Avetisyan
    Suzanna Haroutiunyan
  • guide
    Edik Hovhannissyan
    Haroutiune Donoyan
    Ludwig Malkassyan
    Gagik Garabedyan
    Hrach Avetisyan
  • narration
    Hagop Goudsouzian
  • voice director
    Kathleen Fee
  • narration recording
    Geoffrey Mitchell
  • foley artist
    Stéphane Cadotte
  • foley assistant
    Antonio Mari
  • traditional music
    Ararat Petrossian
  • musician
    Ararat Petrossian
    Anahit Isagulyan
  • traditional song
    Anait Koutsouzian
  • consultant
    Houshang Hassan-Yari
    Raymond H. Kévorkian
    Levon Marashlian
    Lorne Shirinian
  • translation
    Grégoire Goudsouzian
    Nourhan Ouzounian
    Anrà Médiatexte
  • technical support - editing
    Martine Forget
    Martine Chamberland
  • online editing
    Sylvain Desbiens
    Denis Gathelier
  • re-recording
    Serge Boivin
    Jean Paul Vialard
  • computer graphics
    Louise Overy
  • animation camera
    Pierre Landry
  • titles
    Gaspard Gaudreau
  • archival research
    Jelena Popovic
  • marketing officer
    David Boisclair
  • administrator
    Denise DesLauriers
  • administrative team
    Hélène Regimbal
    Lise Lévesque
    Marie-Josée Lavoie
  • technical coordinator
    Jean-François Laprise
    Brigitte Sénéchal
  • line producer
    Christian Medawar
  • executive producer
    Yves Bisaillon
  • producer
    Yves Bisaillon

  • whynot

    Why these old grandmas are not able to come to Turkey if they would like to see their old town one more time? Armenians are able to take 1 month visa. The movie promotes hatred in many scenes. Check 64 min. Guy says " We should do the same ( referring massacre) We must arm ourselves to recover our land and balance thing. Min 67 : "We shall recover the land we lost. ...accomplish our duties until justice is done.: In 69 min 50 sec. " All I wanted before coming Armenia was that acknowledgement. Now I want the land ( East side of Turkey)... How it calls to me"..." It used to belong us. It's not just fare.." Armenians used to leave in Anatolia; their population wasn't greater than Turks. It doesn't show that it was used belong Armenians. Even it was belong to Armenians before. I will never be able to understand looking at the Ararat and desiring the land, having a passion about doing massacre to current people who live there right now. Youtube is full of videos of old Turkish people who tells how their parents, brothers are killed in a very violence way by Armenians in 1914. What I've felt when I've watched them, I've felt the same thing for old Armenians too. But..It seems many Armenian people justifying this pain for taking the land back. This is an open invitation for a war. Very conservative country, people are keeping their hatred, raising children with Turkey phobia. Of course there will not be reconciliation.

    whynot, 27 Apr 2015
  • crazymedix

    To the director, You "Diaspora" cause these desperate armenians to live in huger just like North Korean people. Your lobby in the USA, Canada, France etc. uses this "Genocide" bullshit to provoke Armenians, prevent them from establishing good relations with Turkey. If you love your roots and country so much, why don't you all go back and re-establish big Armenia instead of visiting them once in a life like a zoo. Speaking these sophistries from thousands of km's away, from prosperous Canada, is easier i think. Besides that, unfortunately, during war times innocent people die too. In WWI my village was ruined and many innocent people were dead. This is not a ground for weeping i suppose. Finally the number 1.5 million is so exaggerated and has no scientific - historcal sources.

    crazymedix, 12 Apr 2015
  • Pappy

    I understand this film was made in 2004 and if there is ANY doubt whatsover that Armenians went thru the genocide by the Turks beginning in 1915 this should expel any of it, especially whe u hear the first hand experiences as told by the few present survivors of the genocide. I agree comletely with the comments of previous person that by the Turkish government denying the existance of it makes things very bad when there so many first hand experiences to this day. Let us hope and pray that SOME turkish government will eventually accept their predesecors atrocities and move on to a more harmonious relationship with Armenia. Amen God's will be done.

    Pappy, 7 Mar 2010
  • bonbonne

    Hello, I just watched My Son shall be Armenian documentary.I am Turkish.I dont have enough knowledge to decide whether the genocide happened or not.I want to talk about my feelings, I cried when the Armenian grandmothers talked about their bad memories.They were like my grandmothers.Even the houses of Armenians, the decoration, their clothing is so similar that I felt like I am watching a documentary from home.I even picked some common words from Turkish. I am not a murderer nor a bad person.I respect Armenians. I understand their search of identity.I dont want people to have prejudices towards me when I say I am Turkish or I dont want them to think that all Turks are murderers.I had Armenian friends, I really love them and most of all I understand them.Although, since I am not representing all Turks here, I think like Garo, a reconciliation in the near future seems difficult.When Hrant Dink was murdered, I didnt know what to say to his younger daughter, which is a friend of mine from school.I felt ashamed.I am still ashamed....but still somehow hopeful. by the way, I thought the white haired man was Atom Egoyan since the beginning.He said that he was born in Egypt and moved to Canada when he was little.

    bonbonne, 24 Feb 2010
  • armano77

    Heyarnold81, what do you mean by one-sided talk? Aren’t we talking together, you and I? As far as I know, when TWO people exchange words, it’s a TWO sided conversation. Also, I hope you will read my reply, because you surprisingly decided not to answer; I say surprising, because you stated earlier that this subject those not panic you. heyarnold81, since you posted a comment, please have the respect to read my reply. Allow me to continue speaking in a polite manner, not for the sake of other people, but because that is what my parents have taught me. When I was younger, my older brother and I used to argue with each other (like every other normal family). If he did something that bothered me or hurt me, I used to wait a while for things to calm down, and then I would go and see him and politely explain why what he did was wrong. Most of the time, without even letting me finish my point, he would cut in and say something like: “Oh well, you’ve done something similar in the past...”, or, “Yesterday you did such thing…” And he was able to stray the conversation from the main subject, until I got older that is, and realized his escape technique. No offense meant, heyarnold81, but when I speak with you I feel like I’m speaking with my older brother. What I mean is, instead of concentrating on the main subject, you brought up 11+ issues, so different from each other; we would need to open a different discussion topic for each one. This said, bear with me as I right on three of these… (1) First, I agree with you that any documentary should include the arguments of both sides. You might have misunderstood heyarnold81, but this documentary is not about the Armenian genocide, but about Armenians and their concern to keep their identity. The title clearly states this truth: “My son shall be Armenian”. And that it why the filmmaker has brought the 2 sides of this issue together: Armenians from Armenia and Diaspora-Armenians. The reason why the Armenian genocide is brought up is because it is part of our history, and so, must be considered when discussing identity. (2) Second, you have mentioned ASALA many times. Yes, it was an Armenian organization; yes, they killed 46 people (Wikipedia). No, they are not my ancestors, and it is not logical to link them to every Armenian. Why? How is it I link the Genocide to Turkey and you can’t link Asala to Armenia and Armenians? The answer is clear: Asala is not and has never been part of the Armenian GOVERNEMENT. It is a Marxist-Leninist militant ORGANIZATION. There can be many different organizations in a government, but an organization those not represent the majority of the people, whereas a government those. An EXAMPLE to clarify my point: Search the internet for TURKISH MAFIA, and you will see that it is in control of most of the world’s heroin trafficking. According to the British Foreign Office, as much as 80% of all heroin used in Britain has come through Turkey ( More than 3000 people have died in 2007 in England and 2.5million die around the world every year. 80% of these deaths in Britain have to blame the Turkish Mafia ? that’s about 2400 people. Now tell me heyarnold81, would it be just if I linked every single Turk (including you), to the crimes done by this organization? OF COURSE NOT. So please, do not be so blind as to see every Armenian as an Asala, an organization that not only doesn’t represent the whole, but has also stopped existing since 1991. On the other hand, the Ottoman Empire was not a simple organization. It was a government, an Empire, one that belongs to the Turkish people and history…which brings me to my third point… (3)You stated again that you deny Ottoman history and asked me what I can do about it? Well, I can’t force you to accept the truth, whether it is the Ottoman Empire or the Armenian Genocide. As for the first one, why do you deny something every single historian accepts, even your own government ( For goodness sake heyarnold81, the Ottoman Empire and your present Turkish government share the same flag…I don’t understand your logic. I don’t mean this in an insulting manner, but Are you afraid to accept your history? …………………..As for me, I will make a confession: I don’t have hatred against Turkish people. You might have a hard time believing it, so let me explain to you how it is possible for me not to hate. Yes, when I was a child and heard about the Genocide and its atrocities, I hated turkey, the Turks, and everything that had to do with them…like every other kid who would have if he heard these stories. Growing older, as we learn more and our horizons expand, I started to read a lot, especially history. Added to the experience of injustice around the world we have in the present, thanks to media, things got much clearer. Next to all the massacre stories I have heard heyarnold81; I would like to share 1 with you that is a little different. One of my good friend’s great grandfather survived the genocide thanks to a Turk. When the news of deportation arrived to their village, his neighbor, who was a Turk, not only offered, but forced him to hide in his house, knowing what would be his end if he would be “deported”. There are many such stories heyarnold81. The fact is it is the Ottoman government who took that decision and the not Turkish population as a whole. Yes, many agreed with the government and brought their part to the planned extermination. But some had the nobility and courage to risk their lives, in order to save their neighbor. I sincerely pray that their memory live on in you, and not the hatred planted from before, which you said can turn you into a monster. You see, heyarnold81, I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a good race and a bad race. History proves that every single race has its GOOD PEOPLE and BAD PEOPLE. There are good Armenians and bad Armenians, just as there are good Turks and bad Turks. In the end, it comes down to this: we can’t decide what race we are going to belong to, but it is in our hands whether we will be GOOD, or BAD; just, or unjust: to murder, or to love our neighbor…etc. Today, people around the world see Turkey and turkishness as a threat, not because they are racist, but because of what they read in history. An example of this is a saying of famous French writer Victor Hugo: “Les Turcs ont passé là. Tout est ruine et deuil”. (Translation= The Turks have passed by there. All is ruined and in mourning). Again, I did not say this as an insult, on the contrary. Every nation has its ups and downs. I have read Armenian history, believe me, we have had both. The important thing is how you are remembered. Armenian’s are often remembered s the first nation to officially adopt Christianity. Tell me heyarnold81, why shouldn’t Turkey be remembered in a good way. That is, of course, I your and your brothers hands. We are all aware that Germany has accepted the Jewish holocaust and given retribution. Noble indeed; But there is one thing we sometimes forget. Germany did not do this voluntarily, but was farced after the Berlin trials. Now imagine if Turkey, without any pressure from other countries, without being forced by a stronger nation, or without being condemned by a jury, stepped forward and acknowledged the 1915 events…the Genocide. You might be thinking I am crazy, but think again. What would be your loss in retribution?…money and land? But what would be your gain?...Turkey and Turks would be the only people ever in history, to have the courage and decency to come forth and accept his past errors, not because he has to, but because He Wants to, because he stands for something…… ……………………………………………………. heyarnold81, someone that is very dear to you once said: “DO NOT BE AFRAID OF TELLING THE TRUTH.” (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk) We might not agree on everything, like my older brother and I, but can we agree on truth?.....

    armano77, 6 Feb 2010
  • heyarnold81

    First of all never think that you convince me about something. Remember our word "no deal with terrorists and liars", I forgot to mention another one "no respect to terrorists and liars". However, I want to inform future readers about your pointless comment which is attacking mine with a polite cover. First of all, I called director a liar and I still continue doing so. If you are creating something which is named under documentary, you have to include all the facts(or even claims)-- all of them -- in your work, so that people will have the opportunity to compare different ideas and witnesses, so they can judge the issue. Use your brain getting rid of your armenian(diaspora sourced) stereotypes.. UNDERSTAND THIS VERY CLEARLY(THAT IS WHY I USE UPPER CASE): NOT MENTIONING SOMETHING ALSO IS DENYING, LIKE YOUR LOVELY DIRECTOR AND ALSO YOU DON'T EVEN MENTION/REPLY TO THE """ASALA""". Dear armano77(who has terrorist ancestors), if you'd clearly read my comment you'd understand I wanted to mention a massively growing group of people in Turkey who don't carry strict traditional values(like many of you do). But I think you're so blinded by this "genocide" issue and you can't even understand this, you continue fighting with your imaginary cruel Turkish opponents in your reply. I keep denying Ottoman history and your genocide claim. What can you do about that? And your genocide word doesn't make me angry, not at all :) because you are not harmful for my benefits. An advice to you and alike armenians: keep feeding your anger toward Turkish people, they will never accept your claims(I swear :)) and this huge anger may cause a war(everything is possible) and your poor country will be destroyed once again by wild Turkish people(unlike the group I mentioned in my comment). OR choose another way, forget your ancient claims, help us open our armenian border to your poor people, come in to the lands you used to live and practice the useful learning which is "living with Turkish people in peace"(what you couldn't accomplish in the past). I know this is an important issue to you(because of diaspora's propaganda), but not to me armano77. I think about this issue 2 times a year at most, or sometimes never, I don't even care about it actually. I'm not in a panic mood because my country has a possibility to accept your claims, but whenever you turn to your asala roots and start killing Turkish people than I will be a monster with others, I'll start thinking about you 24/7, I'll start organizing plans to collapse you(like your diaspora does know), I'll concentrate all myself taking a revenge, because you'd harm my benefits in this way. I hope you understand my points. I'll never answer this one-sided talk again because I don't even care(under these circumstances) ;) one must always be careful about what he's doing in this era of the world..

    heyarnold81, 4 Feb 2010
  • armano77

    Dear heyarnold81. I recently watched “My Son Shall Be Armenian” and read your comment. Before I speak about it, I would like you to know that I am of Armenian descent, so I obviously liked the documentary. On the other hand, it is not just to take sides based on our ethnic belonging, but such a decision should be made according to truth and mutual understanding. This is why I read your comment carefully and respect your decision on defending the Turkish side, being of Turkish descent I suppose. So is there a way out of this for both of us together? I believe there is….if we are each ready to acknowledge the truth, as I said earlier. First, heyarnold81, allow me to say that you are wrong in calling the filmmaker Hagop Goudsouzian, a liar. He would have been a liar if 1- he had broth up the points you talked about, 2- if those points where true and 3- rejected them. But Hagop never mentions them, so he can’t be considered a liar in regards to something he has never said. On the other hand, you, heyarnold81, you make a shocking claim. You say you don’t support anything done in Ottoman era and you separate it from your ancestors and you. In doing so dear heyarnold81, forgive me for saying this, but you are the liar. Why? Because you are rejecting half of your history, from 1453–1922, in order to rid yourself of the harm done during those 500years. Do you not see the contradiction? The merriam-webster dictionary defines the word HISTORY as: ‘‘chronological record of significant events (as affecting a nation or institution)’’. We are not allowed to take out parts of history at our own liking. heyarnold81, if this is what they teach you to try to solve the Genocide…it is not a solution, but a lie. Think about it, if someone is ready to deny half of their history, they’ll easily deny a few years….like 1909(Adana’s massacre) and 1915(Genocide). Respectfully yours, in search of truth and justice, HAt

    armano77, 3 Feb 2010
  • heyarnold81

    What about Armenian terrorist organization Asala that killed about 70 Turkish diplomats and families in the very near history? And muslim villagers(both Turkish and other nations) who were killed by Tashnak and Hinchak armenian partizans which is the root to these events. Is amount of pain measured by numbers, dear director? You don't include these in such a claiming documentary, and you want people to believe what you're saying which makes you a liar, and as stated with Asala your very young ancestors were terrorists. Our word is simple, no deal with terrorists and liars.. And don't forget we have our history in eastern anatolia since 1071, and you claim these lands as yours. As my last word, here's the thoughts of a well-educated young generation Turkish: I strongly believe that your diaspora is taking advantage of 1915 to keep Armenians together and preserve the existence of itself, thus I don't really care about what happened in 1915 with a strong opposition to any ottoman regimes in myself. Simply I don't support anything done in Ottoman era, Ottoman authorities don't represent the behaviors and thoughts of my ancestors. My political history begins with Kemal Atatürk. My cultural history goes back to 1071 which will make me do anything you can imagine to not lose any lands in anatolia and eastern thrace. If the matter comes to the effects of your political actions against Turkey, I don't care unless they hurt our benefits and interests in the world arena. If such devastation comes to us from you, just be aware that things've changed and we're playing more active in the world arena in a lot of various fields as both a country and individuals. Dear director read some books and don't underestimate these Turkish people as a suggestion and tell these things to your armenian son :)

    heyarnold81, 30 Jan 2010

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