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Making The Film

Hamburger and Dolma

Film by Caroline Babayan
Produced by Caroline Babayan
Cinematographer: Hilde Malme with Yorgos Bolanos
Sound: Susan M. Ericsson
Editing: Terje Paasche
Copyright: 2000, Caroline Babayan.
49 minutes, Color
Original format: Betacam SP, 2000
More Film Facts
Home streaming only. For other permissions apply to Caroline Babayan or to the distributor, carolinebabayan (at) gmail.com.


Preview one minute trailer - Comment on film


Over preparations of a sumptuous Armenian meal of stuffed vegetables (dolma), five Armenian-American women of varying ages and diverse backgrounds discuss their feelings of alienation from their ethnic community and their desire to relate to their cultural heritage on their own terms. While coring and stuffing vegetables, rolling grape and cabbage leaves, and filling flaky pastry with cheese, the women delve deeply into topics such as gender, age, race, sexuality, and ethnic politics.

The five women are all daughters or granddaughters of victims and survivors of the 1915 annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey. As a result, their discussions are grounded in the specter of past genocide and the psychological and social effects of contemporary erasure. However, although they don't deny their pain, the women are able to examine their feelings and experiences with humor and self-irony.

A delicious compliment to classroom discussions on the complex nature of identity, providing myriad tangible tidbits with which to whet conversations concerning issues of ethnicity, culture, difference, and multiplicity. Steeped in questions of how race, gender, sexuality, age, and class matter to the formation of ethnic identity, this film is an exceedingly instructive tool for illuminating the complex dynamics of identity formation. This full-bodied, richly textured cinematographic delight brilliantly engages the senses and the intellect, vividly displaying the embodied nature of history, memory, and connection through the use of food as a metaphoric and literal Cuisinart for the crafting of identities
--- Karen Barad, Prof. of Women's Studies and Philosophy and Chair of Women's Studies, Mount Holyoke College


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