Screamers is an interesting documentary in that it follows the band System of a Down as they travel on tour, but the message they spread is awareness of the Armenian genocide that tragically occurred in Turkey in 1915. Through their efforts we see how this genocide was actually a precursor to the Holocaust in Germany, "Rwanda, Bosnia, the Iraqi Kurds and today's genocide in Darfur." There are certainly other Holocausts that have occurred amongst other races over time (the Ma'afa Holocaust among Blacks is one that certainly comes to mind), but the point of this documentary is to create awareness about this problem, and how big business and governments all over the world conspire to not recognize these travesties because it might upset their business interests (sadly, the U.S., due to our relationship with Turkey, doesn't recognize what happened in 1915 as a Holocaust). The mere thought of that probably instills anger in a lot of people, both because it is so tragic that some don't value human life as much as they should, and also because there are so few people who even know that these tragedies have occurred. Thus, those that speak out are called Screamers because they have reached a point where they have no other way that they can express themselves.
This is one of the most important films of the year and I really hope that is catches on. I had heard about System of A Down as band for years but I never knew that, with all the members of the band being Armenian, they had united behind this cause to bring light to the genocide of their people. This film isn't your typical finger pointing documentary. It shows that nobody is really beyond reproach, and the two key points that I took from it where that genocide begets genocide and "there's no peace in the graveyard." For one government to think that they can systematically wipe out a race of people is absurd. This documentary rightly points out that there will always be survivors, and because of that people will always be held responsible for what they do. In fact, it seems like ignoring a genocide (because then a government entity will be forced to act about it), is almost the same as conspiring in the actually genocide itself.
Watching this film is both a sad and enlightening experience. It's sad because hearing about the tragedies suffered and the families demolished is just heartbroken. To hear these stories about these little children witnessing the deaths of their parents and grandparents is almost unbearable but it needs to be heard. It was enlightening because one really can see the cause and effect relationship. The geopolitical landscape is broken down so that we realize just how these types of travesties against humanity come about. While it's never acceptable, the fact that we can draw such conclusions is staggering in it's impact. Sadly, this all ends up making sense and it even shows how by ignoring or not paying attention to a situation, we even get events like 9/11.
In short, everything is connected.
The majority of this film focuses on System of A Down working with various groups and trying to create awareness of what happened to the Armenian people. However, the band members are quick to point out that this isn't just about the Armenians, and because of this one would be hard pressed not to be both emotionally and cerebrally engaged by what is being offered here. We get to see some candid moments of the band on tour, talking about travel arrangements, and playing various tricks on one another. Director Carla Garapedian has done a very fine job editing this film together. If you are a fan of System of A Down then you certainly will get to see the band in action. If you like the band but are more into the cause that they espouse, you will also be satisfied. And, if you just want the cause, Garapedian has cut the film so that it is intertwined with the majority of the band footage.
Opening modestly in Los Angeles on December 8 and then in New York on January 19, 2007, Screamers that demands the world's attention.