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1922

Greece, 1978 (MIFF 1982)

Director: Nikos Kondouros

1922 was made by Nikos Kondouros and, after screening at the 1978 Thessaloniki Festival, it was banned. It has now been released following the change of government in Greece.

1922 is the most emotive date in modern Greek history. In August of that year a triumphant Turkish army, led by Ataturk, entered the city of Smyrna to consolidate their territorial claims on the Ionian coast. The campaign had been in progress for two years, initially encouraged by the Allies. Turkish resistance, led by Ataturk, had been greater than envisaged. The Turkish victory against the superior and more sophisticated Greek forces was a brilliant example of military strategy, but it culminated in one of the most ferocious sackings of a city in modern times: one-third of Smyrna was burned down, and there was rampant pillage, rape and murder. Within a year, more than one million Greeks (some of whose families had lived in Turkey' for more than 2000 years) were repatriated.

The film tells of these incidents by focusing on what happens in one small village following the defeat. Kondouros distances the horror, almost stylising the events in the manner of Miklos Jancso and Theo Angelopoulos. It is, however, still a graphic account of an event which provoked great hostility — one which lingers even today. This film puts the Greek view and may prove of some offence to Turks who, of course, believe its incidents should be placed in a wider historical context.

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