Kino Eye: Greek refugee experience

Submitted by AWL on 5 October, 2021 - 10:24 Author: John Cunningham
Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow

I'm not sure how much relevance Greek director Theo Angelopoulos’ filmTrilogy: The Weeping Meadow (2004) has to the notion of the “right of return” which has been discussed in the pages of Solidarity recently, but there are some parallels. The film demonstrates the precarious nature of the migrant experience even in a country considered to be their “motherland”.

It is 1919. The long-established Greek community in Odessa is displaced by the Russian Revolution and they eventually land on the shores of Greece, near Thessaloniki. However, there is no welcome for them and they are forced to build their own village on boggy, desolate land. Here, they eke out a precarious living surrounded by hostility or indifference.

Their reception and fate is not dissimilar to that experienced by Greek refugees from Turkey following the Greco-Turkish war and the destruction of Izmir (Smyrna in Greek).

The film focuses on the harsh life of the orphan Eleni (Alexandra Aidini), her adolescence and eventual marriage to the musician Alexis. She gives birth to twin boys but they are taken away from her. World War Two and the Greek Civil War that follows only add to her difficulties.

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