GLENDALE, Calif. — On Wednesday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m., there will be a screening of the silent film “Ravished Armenia” and an accompanying talk by film historian Anthony Slide at the Glendale Central Library, 22 Harvard St. The event is sponsored by the Glendale Public Library and co-sponsored by the Ararat-Eskijian Museum and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR).
The book Ravished Armenia, by Aurora Mardiganian, (also called The Auction of Souls) was published in 1918, making it one of the very first Genocide survivor memoirs to appear in English. Incredibly, within months of arriving in the US, Mardiganian was starring as herself for $15 a week in a film adaptation and reenacting horrifying scenes from the Armenian Genocide.
Directed by veteran filmmaker Oscar Apfel, the film garnered much attention in 1919 when it was first shown and was used to help raise money for Near East Relief. However, for many years “Ravished Armenia” was thought to be a lost film.
In the past 20 years, however, a portion of the film was rediscovered, and Richard D. Kloian of the Armenian Genocide Resource Center has produced an enhanced and edited 24-minute version to which he has carefully added an historical introduction, descriptive subtitles, well-chosen music, and a slideshow of production stills to create an important document. Kloian will be present the evening of the screening and DVDs of the enhanced video will be on sale.
Slide is the author of more than 70 books on the history of popular entertainment and the former resident film historian of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 1997, he published Ravished Armenia and the Story of Aurora Mardiganian, reprinting the original memoir as well as an in-depth documentation of the making of the film. He also interviewed Mardiganian late in her life and will play portions of this interview.