Friday, January 22, 2010
Netflix makes the movie "A Touch of Spice" available next week. It's a sad, romantic story about the definition of home, and what it means to leave it. Home, in this case, was Greek Istanbul in the 1950s, told through the eyes of a spice-seller's son. This subtitled movie, called "Politiki Kouzina" in Greek, isn't perfect, but the storytelling really moved me when I saw it in a Manhattan cinema last year (see my earlier post and link to YouTube). But none of my friends could see it -- until now!!
Monday, March 30, 2009
Play this music and read on: A grandfatherly Greek spice-seller in Istanbul in the late 1950s is the focus of a sweet movie you have to rent: Politiki Kouzina, ("A Touch of Spice," or literally "Constantinople Cuisine" or "Political Kitchen.") The 2004 film doesn't concentrate on violence or politics in the final uprooting of Istanbul's Greeks to an unfamiliar "motherland," but instead uses spice and food to tell stories about life and love and tragedy that began in 1915-1922. You can watch one particularly poignant moment on YouTube. I lost it when the main characters depart Istanbul's train station with just a few bags, leaving behind, forever, an entire life. (Our family story too.) Plot problems aside, the movie is subtitled, and showing again starting April 24 at the Cinema Village in New York. See it! In the meantime, make your own judgments by reading the 1992 Human Rights Watch report called, "Denying Human Rights and Ethnic Identity: The Greeks of Turkey" a free Google pub. In the end, it's all history. In Istanbul, the massive cathedral of Aghia Sofia is a museum. Minarets and women shrouded in black characterize former Greek neighborhoods. (See January photo above.) Still, you can't but fall in love with beautiful Istanbul.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
New York has revived a Greek Film Festival, and it's showing some fascinating movies the first week of November. One, Song of Life, is an obvious effort to to show that some Greek Jews survived World War II. Another depicts 700 mail-order brides journeying from Smyrna, Turkey to the U.S. There's a documentary on a little-known, Greek-Armenian director who hung out with Bogart and others in Hollywood. The one I want to see, now a few years old, is about a Turkish Greek who learned about spice and cooking from his grandfather in Istanbul before being swept into deportations. Called Politiki Kouzina; you can watch the trailer.