Joana Hadjithomas and the painter and poet Etel Adnan met 15 years ago. They became close friends, sharing a city that they had never been to : Izmir, in Turkey, formerly known as Smyrna. After the end of the Ottoman Empire, Hadjithomas’s paternal Greek family were forced into exile from Smyrna by the Turkish armies.
Adnan's mother, also a Greek born in Smyrna, married a Syrian officer of the Ottoman army, who was exiled to Lebanon after the fall of the Empire. Having lived in an imaginary Smyrna, the two artists are now confronted with the transmission of history, questioning their attachment to objects and places, imaginary constructions without images. What should be done with the sorrow of our parents ?
Even if it constituted us, could we live today out of nostalgia, in an "eternal present", as Adnan would say ? Their personal experiences and the story of their lives serve as a prism through which are seen the changes that took place in the region after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the shifting of borders, the notions of identity, belonging and cosmopolitanism.