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From Both Sides of the Aegean: Expulsion and Exchange of Populations, Turkey-Greece: 1922-1924 21 mars 2014

Posted by Acturca in Art-Culture, History / Histoire, South East Europe / Europe du Sud-Est, Turkey / Turquie.
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The New York Times (USA) Friday, March 21, 2014, p. C 14
Movies, Performing Arts/Weekend ~ Movie Review

By Miriam Bale

The full title of the new documentary by Maria Iliou, « From Both Sides of the Aegean: Expulsion and Exchange of Populations, Turkey-Greece: 1922-1924, » is quite a mouthful. It not only describes the subject but also gives a sense of the film’s dry, dense and sometimes convoluted style of exploring this otherwise fascinating subject.

The film focuses on ethnic cleansing in the Ottoman Empire, beginning in the 19th century, specifically resulting in a compulsory « exchange of populations » in the mid-1920s, in which Greek Orthodox Christians were forced out of Turkey and Muslims from Greece. This had a significant effect on the culture and economics of both countries, which the film investigates by using archival footage and interviews with experts and the families of people who were relocated.

The film is packed with details and tells an important and interesting history. Yet is a movie the best format for this content? Most of the gorgeous cinematography of the region is static: An occasional gust of wind or a random slow pan are the only things to indicate that these images are not, in fact, still photographs. A well-illustrated book or lecture may have served the same purpose.

« Twice a Stranger » (2006) is such a book, and its author, Bruce Clark, provides some of the most interesting commentary here. Watching the film may be a good impetus to read his work.

Opens on Friday in Manhattan. Directed by Maria Iliou 1 hour 27 minutes; not rated

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