FOLLOWING its appearance at film festivals around the world, My Rembetika Blues - an award-winning documentary by Marrickville filmmaker and academic Mary Zournazi -has at last come home to the suburb where it came to life.
Described as a film about love, life and Greek music - and produced by acclaimed documentary maker and Dr Zournazi's mentor Tom Zubrycki - its screening at Marrickville library onJuly 20 was sold out within hours.
"It is astounding that as soon as the tickets went live at Marrickville library, they were gone on the first day," said Dr Zournazi. "It was particularly to do with the Greek community here, and not only that, I think there are a lot of people here interested in cultural events, and diversity - and although the film is about a particular kind of music that is Greek, the story itself is universal. It's about a search for your identity and for belonging."
Rembetika music, or the Greek blues, has its roots in the mass migration of people in the early 20th century. Dr Zournazi traces the journey of her forebears from Smyrna in Turkey, which her grandmother fled in 1922 when Turkish troops burned the city, to Sydney, where her Greek-Egyptian parents migrated in the early 1960s.
Dr Zournazi was shooting her first documentary, Dogs of Democracy, in Greece when she came across Syrians who had escaped the civil war and Greeks dancing together to rembetika, a music described as being born of exile and the streets. "It really amazed me how music can bring people together despite your culture or national identity," she said. Looking to her own family, "it became a parallel migration story, about how the music and this experience of migration came together at the same time. Rembetika is made up of so many different cultural elements and sounds; it is an incredibly unique music but full of all this history."
With Dr Zournazi behind the camera, the film was shot in Greece, Turkey, Egypt, the US, but also in the inner west. "I created it in Marrickville, I wrote it and I edited it, in my house," she said.
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