This article argues for a concept of the transnational archive, which offers the potential to activate moving image artifacts across a wider historical and geographical scope than the national film historiographies. Following Stoler’s description of archives as condensed sites of epistemological and political anxiety, we suggest approaching archives as registers of struggle, confusion, discrepancy, and rupture. As such, the transnational archive holds a plethora of artifacts that may challenge the intact paradigms of former colonialist and imperialist states. We tackle this potential via Ottoman film heritage, focusing on recently discovered footage of Adana, filmed by missionary filmmakers Mulsant and Chevalier in 1909. We take these cinematic images of ruins and rubble as signs of ruination, extending Stoler’s concept to the destruction of cultural heritage for epistemic erasure, as an ongoing phenomenon even after the dissolution of the imperialist or colonialist state.