Showing posts with label refugees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label refugees. Show all posts

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Power of Pontian Dance

You don't need to speak any Greek to be engaged for at least the first 15 minutes of this video that shows the power of dance! It's undenyable.
It's interesting to see how in step the dancers are doing the "Σέρρα" dance, bonding with small movements. See how holding hands supports body movement, even in old age!
Pontos, on the Black Sea in Northern Turkey, was unique. The people were Greek, but had their own dialect, music and dress, all with a certain Turkish influence. As the Ottomans battled ethnic minorities in the 1910s and 1920s, the Pontians became refugees, and were sent mostly to Northern Greece -- much like the Greeks in Asia Minor and other parts of what is now Turkey.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Queens Film Fest

A powerful film about minorities in Turkey, directed by Mahsun Kirmizigül, an apparently well-known musician, actor and film producer, opens the Queens International Film Festival in Astoria on Thursday, Nov. 12. A hat tip to the American-Turkish Society for being among the festival sponsors. There are scores of choices among the shorts, documentaries and features; below are my choices related to India, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Palestine and various religious and cultural themes I've blogged about. Several Hellenes are presenting their work. One of the main venues is the auditorium in the really cool, new Frank Sinatra high school for performing arts in Astoria, a public school partly financed by former local Tony Bennett. My picks:

My illustrious Astoria actor-friend Michael Malizia stars in a scary short that promised to be fantastic: That's Life.
I Saw the Sun Minorities in an Eastern Turkish village confront violence, an educational divide and displacement to Istanbul and Northern Europe. Feature, 90 minutes
Kerala the Cradle of Christianity in South Asia: Documentary, 34 min
Exarchia Culture Shock Snippets from the violent riots in Athens, Greece one year ago. Documentary, 12 minutes
The Same Blood Stories of immigrants arriving on Sicily's southeast coast. Documentary, 56 minutes
Palestine, Beer and Oktoberfest under Occupation A father-daughter team create Palestine's first beer, uniting 3 religions. Documentary, 43 minutes.
The Lonely Rabbit A furry critter is too shy for love, but hopes. Animation, 15 minutes
Skylight Mockumentary on penguins' plight. Animation, 5 minutes
The Beautiful People By two Chicago directors, about two irresponsible rich girls who lose their financing. Short, 16 minutes
Sultans of Bosphorus Does American soccer have a place in Turkey?
Random Lunacy Busking homeless family travels the world. Documentary, 60 minutes.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Asia Minor stories

If you descend from Asia Minor -- the region of Western Turkey that was once a more diverse place with Greeks, Armenians, Jews -- I would love to record your stories large and small. Write me or post family names, where and how they lived, what year they left and why, photos, links. It's like piecing together a puzzle, but the stories have many common threads. And not enough has been done to collect stories in English, in the United States. I review all material; please leave contact info if you want to talk offline. Αν κατεβείτε από τη Μικρά Ασία - θα ήθελα πάρα πολύ να ακούσω και να καταγράψει τις ιστορίες σας μεγάλες και μικρές. Γράψε μου με το όνομα της οικογένειάς σας, πού και πώς έζησαν, όσα χρόνια και αν μείνει και γιατί,  φωτογραφίες, καρτ-ποστάλ, σύνδεσμοι - θα ήμουν ευτυχής να σας καλέσει και συνέντευξη σας στο τηλέφωνο ή με το Skype. Εγώ αναθεώρηση όλου του υλικού, και δεν πρέπει να δημοσιεύονται στο blog. Παρακαλώ αφήστε τα στοιχεία επικοινωνίας σας.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Touch of Spice

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.