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Smyrna – by Grigoris Karantinakis

Wednesday, March 30th, 7:30 p.m., Hall 1, International premiere, director & special guests present, live music performance by the band Pascal & the Shades before the  film

Q & A after the screening

-> buy your ticket here!

Filio Williams, an elderly Greek-American, rushes to Mytilene with her granddaughter Helen to support the Syrian refugees. No one knows her origin; no one knows that her Smyrna grandmother Filio Baltatzi once found herself on the same island as a persecuted refugee. The notebook with the recipes of the namesake grandmother unfolds the turbulent history of the cosmopolitan Baltatzi family, as shaped by the tragic international developments that determined the fate of entire nations. Different generations of women of the same family are united in space and time, through the threads of history. Present and past become one.

Smyrna is based on the acclaimed play by Mimi Denissi, that played every night for three years to sold-out audiences in Athens. Τhe Greek theatrical event of the century has been reimagined as an extraordinary piece of cinema, as it details the heartbreaking catastrophe that destroyed one of the greatest Levantine cities. It is a tragedy that resonates today; the world is once again overwhelmed with the horrors of ethnic cleansing and images of law abiding citizens suddenly forced to become refugees. Smyrna does not hide from the contemporary parallels, but looks them square in the eyes, as it details the intertwining political, personal and cultural events that shaped the fate of this great metropolis in the region of ancient Ionia. It becomes a film of epic sweep and grandeur combined with intense personal humanity.

The great Asia Minor city of Smyrna was recreated for the film in the largest set ever built in Greece, occupying many city blocks in Faliro, a waterfront suburb of Athens. The Sporting Club, the Opera, various cafés, shops and official buildings were constructed as exact copies of the originals. Smyrna’s waterfront was meticulously reconstructed and many ships of the era were deployed to the set to augment authenticity. And then, in the last week of filming, the rebuilt city of Smyrna was, like the original, burnt to the ground.

The film’s dialogue is in Greek, Turkish and English, and the large international cast is led by Mimi Denissi, Leonidas Kakouris, Burak Hakki, Krateros Katsoulis,Tamilla Koulieva, Katerina Geronikolou, Dina Mihailidou, Anastasia Pantousi, Özdemir Çiftçioglu, Nedie Antoniades, Giannis Englezos, Efi Gousi, Nathan Thomas, Christos Stergioglou, Thodoros Katsafados, Daniel Crossley, Duncan Skinner, Daphne Alexander, Mihalis Mitrousis, Natalia Dragoumi, Manolis Gerapetritis, Andreas Natsios, Ian Robertson, Joanna Kalafatis, Fotina Papatheodorou and Giannis Vogiatzis. Special guest stars: Jane Lapotaire, Susan Hampshire and Rupert Graves.

Smyrna has been produced by Dionyssis Samiotis, with Joseph Samaan and Mimi Denissi as the executive producers. Tanweer Productions released the film in cinemas at Christmas 2021, as a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Smyrna Catastrophe.

 

 

(photo by Vasia Anagnostopoulou)

Grigoris Karantinakis

Grigoris Karantinakis is a director and writer, known for I horodia tou Haritona (2005), Smyrna (2021) and Oi dromoi tis polis (1995).

release date:

2021

director:

Grigoris Karantinakis

starring:

Mimi Denissi, Leonidas Kakouris, Burak Hakki, Katerina Geronikolou, Anastasia Pantousi, Dina Mihailidou, Krateros Katsoulis, Giannis Englezos

country:

Greece

duration:

141 mins

languages:

Greek / English / Turkish with English subtitles