Friday, Feb 20, 2009
Mihail Vasiliadis points at his childhood home in Ystanbul February 6, 2009.
Mihail Vasiliadis's friends warned the teenager to leave work early and go home to his family on September 6, 1955.
Within hours, mobs were attacking thousands of shops, churches and homes throughout Istanbul in a rampage against ethnic Greeks that eventually led thousands to leave Turkey.
"It was the shock of a lifetime, but it was something that wasn't talked about for 50 years," said Vasiliadis, who was aged 15 at the time and is now one of just 2,800 or so Greeks left in Ystanbul. He is now the editor of Apoyevmatimi, Istanbul's last Greek-language newspaper.
Now a film entitled "Guz Sancisi," or "The Pain of Autumn," tells the story of that night more than half a century ago, the first time a Turkish movie has tackled the events that Istanbul Greeks call their "Kristallnacht."
The fictional love story of Behcet and Elena, a Turkish man and a Greek woman, is set against the tension that culminated in the real-life destruction of 5,300 businesses and houses owned by Greeks, Armenians and Jews.
More than 500,000 people have seen the film since its release last month, according to its distributor Özen Film.
Television talk shows and newspapers have covered both the film and the discussion of the events on which it is based.
Its makers say the public debate is a result of an easing of curbs on freedom of expression accompanying Turkey's drive to meet European Union membership standards.
"This film couldn't have been made 10 years ago," said Etyen Mahcupyan, who wrote the screenplay and is editor of the Armenian community newspaper Agos.
"Though the laws on the books still limit free speech, the reality is there's less and less that can't be criticized."
As recently as 2005, demonstrators stormed an Ystanbul gallery and vandalized photographs on exhibit from a prosecutor's investigation into the 1955 events.
"Until now, we've either used silence or shouted to block out the past," said Murat Belge, literature professor at Bilgi University and a political columnist, who was prosecuted in 2006 for criticizing Türkiye's treatment of minorities. "It's a major shift that we're now using art to examine it."
On the night in question, thousands of protesters converged on central Ystanbul, incited by news reports that Greeks in Thessaloniki had bombed the childhood home of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Türkiye. It emerged later that the reports were false.
Tension between Türkiye and its historical rival Greece was high at the time over Cyprus.
Police and soldiers stood by when the protest turned violent. Cemeteries were desecrated, churches were looted and about a dozen people died, said Dilek Guven, a historian and author of a 2005 book on the subject, "The September 6-7 Events." Hundreds of women were raped, she said.
Damage was estimated at $50 million, or about $400 million in today's terms. Most of the attacks were against Greek-owned targets, but almost a third were aimed at property owned by Armenians and Jews.
More than 5,000 people were arrested and most were later acquitted.
Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and two members of his government, deposed in a 1960 military coup, were found guilty the following year of violating the constitution and executed.
During the trial, one of the principal charges the judges heard was that the Menderes government was behind the 1955 events.
Research by Güven and others has shown the conspiracy ran deeper, involving the military and the intelligence service, and was aimed at pressuring minorities to abandon their property and leave the country.
"A film like this might be just a film in another country," said Mahcupyan. "Because there's been a vacuum and this issue was never discussed, the film now fulfils an important mission."
Today, 60 percent of Greeks living in Ystanbul, seat of the Greek-dominated Byzantine Empire for 1,000 years until 1453, are aged over 55, says the Rev. Dositheos Anagnostopulous, a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Church in Ystanbul.
One and a half million Greeks left Türkiye for Greece in 1923, when the Turkish republic was established, and thousands more emigrated when a "wealth tax" imposed on minorities in 1942 wiped out their fortunes before it was repealed two years later.
About 120,000 Greeks were living in Ystanbul in 1955, said Anagnostopulous. After the attacks 50,000 more left, and the final blow was in 1964 after fighting between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. By 1966, just 30,000 Greeks remained, he said.
Ystanbul, a city of 15 million people, is also home today to about 60,000 Armenians and fewer than 20,000 Jews.
"September 6-7 was our Kristallnacht," Anagnostopulous said, referring to the Nazi pogrom of 1938. "The chances of something like this happening again are slim, because Turkish youth today are more critical in their thinking. But to be sure, they need to learn that this catastrophe occurred, that's why the film is important."
The Ecumenical Patriarchate, the spiritual center of the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians, is still based in Ystanbul. The EU has criticised the Turkish government's refusal to recognize the patriarchate's legal status and its ban on the training of Orthodox clergy.
Anagnostopulous said a 2006 change in the law on non-Muslim foundations has relaxed restrictions on Greeks' property rights. However, the government has returned only one of the handful of buildings that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled it had illegally seized over the years.
The Turkish government has never formally apologized for the state's role in the violence 54 years ago.
"We are aware in Türkiye of what we have done, but we fail to confront it, and we keep repeating it," Belge said. "This is a society that fails to bury its dead, and so you have a lot of ghosts roaming around."
(Editing by Andrew Dobbie)
Source : http://news.yahoo.com
Saturday, Jun 23, 2012
The Second "Kazakhstan Montage of Cinemas: Film & Cultural Festival" launches at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in Los Angeles on Aug. 3 for a one-week celebration of Kazakh cinema and culture, including musicians.
The festival is a stellar opportunity for directors, producers, location scouts, and the general public to get an understanding and appreciation of this exotic locale without leaving home.
Sweeping from the Caspian Sea on its Russian border to the Altai Mountain range on the Chinese border, Kazakhstan has a rich nomadic history as well as a powerful current tapestry of cultures. Since gaining independence in 1991, the Central Asian Republic has embraced its remarkable filmmaking past that dates back to the 1930's, when Sergei Eisenstein made his classic Ivan the Terrible in this mystic land, and has even given rise to several "New Wave" movements.
Opening night on Aug. 3rd begins with a reception at 7 pm, and includes a program of live entertainment until 11 pm, at the DGA Theater.
Sponsored by Kazakh Geographic Society (KazGeo.kz ), helixfilmsinc.com , the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Honorary Consulate of Kazakhstan in Los Angeles, the festival includes Advisory Board Members Steven-Charles Jaffe (GHOST, K19), David Marconi (Screenwriter, ENEMY OF THE STATE), and Ambassador Erlan Idrissov.
Tickets cost $10 (including free parking) can be purchased from the festivals website. "Kazakhstan Montage of Cinemas: Film & Cultural Festival 2012" will be held Aug. 3 - 9 at the Directors Guild of America on 7920 Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles, California
For more information, please see www.kazakhfestival.com - KazakhFilmFestLA@gmail.com
Source : HelixFilmsInc.com
Sunday, May 27, 2012
The 65th Festival de Cannes drew to a close tonight with the closing awards ceremony hosted by Academy Award nominated actress Berenice Bejo.
The top prize was captured yet again by Michael Haneke for his portrait of an elderly couple Amour. This is the second time he has bested Jacques Audiard who was also in competition with De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone). Haneke becomes one of the few two-time Palme d'Or winners alongside Alf Sjoberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Bille August, Emir Kusturica, Shohei Imamura, and Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne and only the second after August to win with consecutive films his previous Palme d'Or was for his 2009 film Das weiße Band (The White Ribbon).
Matteo Garrone picked up his second Grand Prix for his film Reality. Previously, he had won in 2008 for Gomorrah.
The surprise winner for the Jury Prize was Ken Loach with The Angels' Share. He previously won the Palme d'Or in 2006 with The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
Another previous Palme d'Or winner won Best Screenplay. Cristian Mungiu who made 4 luni, 3 săptămâni ?i 2 zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) returned with După dealuri (Beyond the Hills), and it also shared the Best Actress for its stars Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur.
In spite of the heavy American representation in the selection, the only American film to win a prize was Benh Zeitlin's Un Certain Regard entry Beasts of the Southern Wild which won the Camera d'Or for first film. Last night, it had won the FIPRESCI international critics' prize.
Complete list of winners for the 65th Festival de Cannes
Amour, Michael Haneke (France-Germany-Austria)
Reality, Matteo Garrone (Italy-France)
The Angels' Share, Ken Loach (U.K.-France-Belgium-Italy)
Carlos Reygadas, Post tenebras lux (Light After Darkness) (Mexico-France-Germany-Netherlands)
Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur, După dealuri (Beyond the Hills) (Romania-France-Belgium)
Mads Mikkelsen, Jagten (The Hunt) (Denmark-Sweden)
Cristian Mungiu, După dealuri (Beyond the Hills) (Romania-France-Belgium)
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin (U.S.)
PALME D'OR FOR BEST SHORT FILM
SESSYZ-BE DENG (SILENCE), REZAN YE?YLBA?
Source : www.ensonhaber.com