Tuesday, July 07, 2009
"SALONICA is about Thessaloniki, the northern Greek city at the crossroads of the Orient and Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The film tells life stories, resembling short novels, which unite to relate a more general story involving many protagonists and interwoven plots – resulting in a cinematic narrative of Thessaloniki.
What makes this city historically unique is the fact that for 450 years it was mainly Jewish and the predominant language was Spanish. This is because Thessaloniki was populated by the Jews who were expelled from Catholic Spain in 1492 and who subsequently found refuge in the Ottoman Empire – up until their almost total annihilation by the Germans during the Shoah in 1943.
The history of the Jews of Salonica is an unfamiliar, yet profoundly European story. It is a story that echoes across the whole Mediterranean region from Spain to Italy and from the Balkans to Turkey. It is unique, because there has never been another predominantly Jewish city of this size anywhere in Europe.
Against this background, SALONICA takes a close look at the city today, meeting very different people – Jewish survivors, Russian immigrants, gypsies, Greek-Macedonian nationalists – thereby telling of the city’s modern reality, a display of historical layers and stories. From a great variety of real life stories SALONICA paints a cinematic fresco of a place and a century torn apart by violence."