Again, I am super-excited that this new Greek super production is coming out soon, and I want to spread the news. The story concerns a major event in Greek History: the ultimate destruction of the city of Smyrna and the massacre of it’s Christian population (Greeks and Armenians) by the Turkish Army in1922.
“I am from Smyrna, and this is my Smyrna, cosmopolitan and loud, full of joy, feasts and delights”. The film tells the story of a wealthy Greek family living a carefree life in Smyrna full of balls, coctails, operas and… secret passions. All of this will come to an end by the destructive forces of war, turkish nationalism and long hidden hatred. The living paradise of Smyrna will be suddenly turned into a burning hell!
Original Title: Σμύρνη μου αγαπημένη
Directed by Grigoris Karantinakis
1. Major British stars, Sherock’s Rupert Graves and The Crown’s Susan Hampshire appear in key roles in the movie.
2. Mimi Denissi, who stars in the film and co-writes the screenplay (with Martin Sherman) is a prominent force in the Greek theatre. She is one of the most celebrated actresses in Greek as well as the most acclaimed translator of her generation, a major producer and director, and the author of six extraordinarily popular historical dramas. The movie «Smyrna, my beloved» is based on her stage play “Smyrni moy agapimeni” (known also as “Smyrna”), attended by over 1.000.000 viewers».
3. The City of Smyrna was a multicultural and cosmopolitan center for centuries. According to the U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time, Henry Morgenthau, more than half of Smyrna’s population was Greek. This is the reason the Turks called it “Gavour Izmir”, Izmir (Smyrna) the Infidel. Apart from Greeks, they were leaving in the city many Armenians, Jews and, of course, Turks.
In fact, the historical presence of the Greeks in Anatolia, goes back to the 12th Century AD, at the times of the Byzantine Empire, while the Turks have been there only since the second half of the 15th Century AD. That explains Anatolia’s huge greek population. Sadly, most of these people where eliminated or forced to leave the land by the nationalist Goverment of Mustafa Kemal “Atatürk”, the “father of all Turks”.
4. When the First World War ended, the region of Smyrna was given to the Greek State, according to the Treaty of Sèvres, under the condition that the Turks would be respected. Greeks and Armenians were celebrating for days the arrival of the Greek Army. Their cries of joy would be soon be replaced by cries of help, when the Turks occupied the city once again.
The Alies (British, French and Italians) forced the Greek Army to move forward into turkish mainland. After the defeat and retreat of the Greek army in August 1922, the Turks recaptured the City on September 9, 1922.
In the immediate aftermath, the Turks set fire to the the Greek and Armenian quarters of the city, on September 13, and spread quickly due to the windy weather and the fact that no effort was made to put it out. Terryfied, thousands of Greeks and Armenians overcrowded the port, where they were slaughtered by the turkish forces. Turkish soldiers also attacked western schools and the facilities of the Orthodox Archdiocese. Greek-Orthodox Metropolitan Chrysostom was tortured, murdered and the draged around the city, according to the old Ottoman “tradition” (his lynching and mocking are visible in the film’s trailer). Despite the fact that allied warships were anchored in the port, they did nothing to prevent the Catastrophe. The death toll is estimated to 100,000.
5. The Burning of Smyrna was the peak of the Greek Genocide (1918-1922) by the Turkish Goverment of Kemal Atatürk. Later, Adolf Hitler would mention Kemal as his prior inspiration for the orchistration of the Holocaust.