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The Promise

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When the Young Turk government dragged the Ottoman Empire into the First World War on the side of the Central Powers, their aim was to create a pan-Turkic empire incorporating Turkic lands that were part of the Russian Empire. A major impediment to these plans were the Christian minorities of Eastern Anatolia: the Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians, who naturally looked to Russia as a potential ally and protector. Thus the Young Turks hatched a plan to exterminate these groups.

The Promise, helmed by Irish director Terry George, is a story from the Armenian genocide, which began with the arrest of the leaders of the Armenian community in Constantinople on April 24, 1915. Most of them were later murdered. Young Armenian men were inducted into the Turkish military, where they were put to work as slave laborers building roads and railroads, then massacred. Older and infirm men, as well as women and children, were marched out of their towns and villages, ostensibly to be relocated to Syria, then massacred. Those who actually made it to relocation camps, died of hunger, disease, and violence. All told, 1.5 million Armenians were killed, as well as 450,000 to 750,000 Greeks and 150,000 to 300,000 Assyrians. Most survivors fled abroad, essentially ridding the heartland of the Empire, which is now modern-day Turkey, of Christians.

The Promise is an excellent movie: a visually sumptuous, old-fashioned period film — a story of love, family, and survival set against the backdrop of a decadent and crumbling empire, the First World War, and the 20th century’s first genocide. In terms of visual grandeur and emotional power, The Promise brought to mind David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago. Although some have criticized The Promise for making the Armenian genocide the backdrop of a love triangle, what did they expect? A documentary? Besides, The Promise is no mere chick flick. It is a genuinely moving film, with a host of excellent performances, not just a predictable, cardboard melodrama — as fun as those can be. And although the comparison actually cheapens this film, if you like historical soaps like Masterpiece Theatre, Downtown Abbey, and Merchant-Ivory films — or high-order chick flicks like Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient — you will love The Promise.

Another delightful, old-fashioned feature of The Promise is its original orchestral score by Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared, who incorporates Armenian music. There is also gorgeous music in a church scene in which the great Armenian composer and musicologist Father Komitas is portrayed singing on the eve of his arrest along with the other leading Armenians of Constantinople. (He survived but was driven mad by his ordeal and never composed again.)

The Promise focuses on Mikael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac), a young Armenian from a small village in southern Turkey who takes the dowry from his betrothal (the promise of the title) to Marak (Angela Sarafyan) to enroll in the Imperial Medical Academy in Constantinople. There he meets and falls in love with Ana Khesarian (Charlotte Le Bon), the French-educated daughter of a famous Armenian violinist, who is the lover of American journalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale). When the genocide begins, Mikael’s wealthy uncle is arrested, Mikael is conscripted as a slave laborer, and Ana and Chris work to document the atrocities and save lives. Eventually Mikael makes his way back to his village, finds his family, and marries his betrothed. He then encounters Ana and Chris and joins forces with them to try to save his family, his village, and other Armenians.

All the leading characters in The Promise are convincingly three-dimensional and well-performed. Oscar Isaac is excellent as Mikael, as is Charlotte Le Bon in the role of Ana. Every Christian Bale fan, of course, will want to see this film. Although this is not his most compelling character, it is an enjoyable performance nonetheless. My favorite minor character was Mikael’s mother Marta, played by the charismatic, husky-voiced Persian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo.

I recommend that all my readers see The Promise. It is worth seeing simply as a film, but it is also worth seeing to send a message. For powerful forces are working together to make sure that you do not see this film. A movie about the Armenian genocide is viewed as a threat by the Turkish government and the organized Jewish community, both of which oppose designating the Armenian tragedy a genocide. The Turks wish to evade responsibility, and the Jews fear any encroachment on their profitable status as the world’s biggest victims. Before the film’s release, Turkish internet trolls spammed IMDb with bogus one-star reviews. Since the film’s release, the Jewish-dominated media has given the film tepid to negative reviews. Given the film’s obvious quality, I suspect an organized campaign to stifle this film. Don’t let the bastards win.

For many years, I illustrated the Jewish will-to-power compared to other market-dominant minorities with the story of Kirk Kerkorian’s purchase of MGM Studios. Kirk Kerkorian was a self-made Armenian-American billionaire. At his peak, he was worth $16 billion and was the richest man in California. In 1969, Kerkorian bought MGM, and instead of seeing it as an opportunity to influence the culture by making movies and television shows, he sold off a lot of its properties and basically turned it into a hotel company. Before he died at the age of 98, however, Kerkorian realized the cultural value of movies and bankrolled The Promise with $100 million.

Over his lifetime, Kerkorian gave away more than $1 billion, spending most of it on helping the Republic of Armenia. If only white American billionaires had a shred of this sort of ethnic consciousness, White Nationalism would be flourishing. Until such figures emerge and start taking media power seriously, the Western mind will be nothing more than a battleground over which highly-organized Levantines fight for control. From a White Nationalist point of view, of course, this is an intolerable situation. But anything that challenges Jewish media hegemony is in the long-term interests of whites. White Nationalism, moreover, has many Armenian allies and well-wishers. So I regard The Promise not just as an excellent film, but as a positive cultural and political development. Thus we should wish it every success.

I can hardly wait for a movie about Operation Nemesis.

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12 Comments

  1. Jason
    Posted May 8, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Nice to see this thoughtful review.

    In my opinion, the dominant AltRight Anti-Armenian rhetoric is unhelpful. Armenian’s are often clumsily lumped in with Jews based on the behavior of a handful of celebrities. If we oppose Jewish Media Narratives, why do many base their opinion’s of Armenian’s upon these promotions.

    I’m glad that both Counter-Currents and Red Ice encourage us to have a more thoughtful, nuanced view on this often misrepresented, Caucasian people.

  2. Nestor
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    ” Given the film’s obvious quality, I suspect an organized campaign to stifle this film. “

    I very sincerely think that this happens quite frequently in film criticism, and always in the same manner: in finding supposedly aesthetic reasons to trash films that are actually being attacked due to political reasons. It would be too obvious for (((them))) to state their political biases against films openly, so instead they slyly couch their antagonism in seemingly apolitical critique.

    I have no doubt that a JournoList-type site/group/forum exists somewhere for this very purpose. I’m not joking.

    I think that Zack Snyder’s films suffer from this phenomenon, for example. (((They))) have never forgiven him for de-Judifying Superman and making him explicitly goyish.

    • Proofreader
      Posted May 6, 2017 at 12:49 am | Permalink

      I wouldn’t be surprised if some kind of network was responsible for these things either. It has been said that politics is an incestuous business, and this is also true of metapolitics, in this case the entertainment media.

      In The Iron Curtain over America (1951), John Beaty wrote:

      “He [Ralph de Toledano, a Jewish conservative] also explains the great leftist game in which one pro-Communist writer praises the work of another — an old practice exposed by the author of The Iron Curtain Over America in the chapter, “Censorship, Gangs, and the Tyranny of Minorities” in his book Image of Life (pp. 146-147):

      “‘Praise follows friendship rather than merit. Let a novelist, for instance, bring out a new book. The critic, the playwright, the reviewers, and the rest in his gang hail it as the book of the year. Likewise all will hail the new play by the playwright — and so on, all the way around the circle of membership. Provincial reviewers will be likely to fall in step. The result is that a gang member will sometimes receive national acclaim for a work which deserves oblivion, whereas a non-member may fail to receive notice for a truly excellent work. Such gangs prevent wholly honest criticism and are bad at best, but they are a positive menace when their expressions of mutual admiration are poured forth on obscene and subversive books.'”

      Many writers would be sufficiently venal to participate in claques to praise or condemn films. (One CIA operative is supposed to have said, in relation to Operation Mockingbird, that journalists were cheaper to hire than prostitutes.)

      The rating system at IMDb is obviously vulnerable to manipulation. The metascore accorded to Prometheus (7.0 out of 10, based on nearly 500,000 ratings) is proof of this.

  3. Sharkticon
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I noticed something similar with the last summer movie War Dogs, as I pointed out before. I saw it based on Steve sailors review and it was entertaining and informative in a wisdom of the world way. It actually had a splat rating on rotten tomatoes earlier in its run, amazingly in this cinematic wasteland, but did gain some ground before the end. If u see it u will understand the similarity to the reception of the Promise.

    Anthony Lane of the New Yorker, a very good reviewer, tactfully sidestepped both movies, a good tactic to save his integrity.

    I would like to hear the analysis of kirkorkian in Hollywood. There is a pretty good book I read called Hollywood wars which had a section on him to a similar effect.

    • Sharkticon
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      I intuited this actually when I saw the splat rating on RT. without yet seeing it even, it seems doubtful it could be THAT bad a movie, with what has garned good ratings of late. Comparison with war dogs makes me think the latter effect is much stronger than the former.

  4. Oleron
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    “A movie about the Armenian genocide is viewed as a threat the Turkish government and the organized Jewish community, both of which oppose designating the Amenian tragedy a genocide. The Turks wish to evade responsibility, and the Jews fear any encroachment on their profitable status as the world’s biggest victims.”

    The jews did the same thing when the Ukrainians were going to describe their losses in WWII as a holocaust, then SPLC president (the ugly one with glasses, I know you’re going to say they’re all ugly, and I agree) made a special trip over there to talk them out of it. The jews will not abide any competition, hey jews what about the 180,000,000. to 250,000,000. gentiles killed in jewish wars, and subsequent causes in the the 20th century.

  5. AB
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    It’s important to note the Jewish (or rather, crypt-Jewish) background of many of those involved with the Young Turk movement (certainly disproportionate);
    Emmanuel Carasso Effendi (also a prominent freemason)
    Mehmet Cavit Bey
    Moiz Cohen

    A significant number of the other members were (ironically) also from ethnic or religious minorities.

    I’m not an expert on it, but I would certainly classify the Young Turks as a Jewish intellectual movement (albeit one where the goyish army officers ended up in charge).
    Although involvement with a ‘nationalist’ movement is certainly out of character for them, I would speculate that the underlying motivation was antagonism to a dominant, homogenous, pan-Islamic culture (under the Ottoman caliph) from which they were by definition excluded and to replace it with a ‘progressive’ civic nationalism.

  6. Michael Bell
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    This review is excellent and it may very well trigger the act of me going to the movies for the first time in a year. Thanks, Greg.

    As an important aside, speaking of the need for White nationalism to have more donors….and Greg, forgive me for plugging this here….

    Andrew Anglin over the The Daily Stormer is soon to face off against the SPLC in what could be an epic court battle that will send shockwaves throughout the nation. If he wins, we will have dealt a MAJOR blow to the enemy. MAJOR. They are trying to stifle freedom of speech in a way that could set a very bad precedent for us.
    It is imperative that all WNs and other Alt-Righters who believe in freedom of speech and the Cause in general donate some money to ol’ Andy. He is nearly there….the turnout has been insanely great.
    Just go to http://www.dailystormer.com and click the “|Legal Defense Fund” link.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      I’d much rather Anglin would use this money for living expenses and to expand his business rather than throw it away on a lawsuit that he can never win. Basically, I tells the SPLC that all they need to do to drain the movement of capital is file nuisance lawsuits against our public figures. It is sad that our movement would not support Anglin to this amount until he got sued, and then only to raise money for lawyers, not for him.

      • Michael Bell
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        I get the feeling that 150,000 can get you a pretty decent lawyer. But I’m no expert.

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          Oliver Wendell Holmes could not win this for them.

          • Michael Bell
            Posted May 6, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            The outcome is going to affect all of us though. As Azzmador points out, a victory for these kikes is going to set a RICO-style precedent: If someone that you do not know reads your website and then chooses to do something that can be interpreted as harassment, even if you EXPLICITLY tell your readers not to do anything illegal, then the kikes can hold you liable.

            I think we should still offer him support, regardless of the perceived outcome. We are all in this together.

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