GREEK FILM SERIES
“Υπάρχει και φιλότιμο” (“Honor Still Exists”) Dir.: Alekos
Sakkelarios Greece, 1965
Sunday, October 4, 3 PM, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall,
USM Portland campus
We repeat this film now because the issues in this bitin political satire of the mid-60s are even more relevant today. A classic of its era, the film stars Lambros Konstantaras and Dionysis Papayianopoulos. A self-absorbed government Minister in Athens has no idea what is really going on amongst his constituents in the provinces. Surrounded by his spoiled, rich family and conniving party workers, he doesn’t learn the truth until a fortunate accident brings him close to the simple people of a village – a meeting that changes him profoundly. This film is a primer on how, unfortunately, Greek government functioned for many years — and how the country got in the mess it is in now. Not Rated. 91 minutes. In B&W. In Greek with English subtitles.
“Loafing and Camouflage” (“Λούφα και Παραλλαγή”)
Dir.: Nikos Perakis Greece,1984
Sunday, November 1, 3 PM, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall,
USM Portland campus
This film is a modern Greek comedy classic that spawned a sequel and a TV series. The film tells the story of a group of soldiers, who, during their compulsory military service in 1967 and 1968 (just before and at the beginning of the Greek Junta) are assigned to the, then, recently founded Armed Forces Television. This TV station, founded for the civilian population, was run by the Cinematographic Unit of the army which until then had only produced propaganda films and newsreels and was
responsible for entertaining the troops and other charity organizations with movie screenings. The personnel were composed mostly of soldiers, who already had experience in the film business in their civilian lives, as well as those who received their training in the army. It deftly reveals the often idiotic funny business that bored soldiers engage in—yet there is an undercurrent of bitterness considering the political situation. 99 minutes. In Greek with English Subtitles.
“Eleni” Director: Peter Yates USA, 1985
Sunday, December 6, 3 PM, Talbot
Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall, USM Portland Campus
“Eleni” is based on the true story of a New York Times reporter, Nicholas Gage, who went searching for his past in Greece. As a very young boy, he is sent to America to join relatives at the end of World War II. He has a sharp memory of his mother promising to join him as soon as possible. But his mother never arrives, and word finally comes that she has been killed – shot by a firing squad in the confused days of the Greek Civil War. As the movie opens, years have passed, but the agony of that loss has not faded for Nick Gage. He feels he cannot rest until he finds the answers to the questions that haunt him: Why was his mother killed? Who killed her? “Eleni” tells Gage’s story in the present day, and then uses flashbacks to tell his mother’s story. The adult Nick is played by John Malkovich as an introspective, wryly intelligent man who harbors deep hurts and angers. Rated: “PG.” 114 minutes. In English.
SPRING 2014 GREEK FILM SERIES
“My Sweet Canary” Director: Roy Sher, Greece, 2011
Sunday, February 2, 3 PM, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall, USM Portland Campus
My Sweet Canary is a French/Greek/Israeli documentary film about the life of Jewish-Greek rembetiko singer, Roza Eskenazi – The Queen of Rembetiko (the Greek blues). Rosa is, perhaps, Greece’s best known and beloved singer of rembetiko. The film is told through archival footage and interviews with Haris Alexiou, Mehtap Demir, Tomer Katz, Yasmin Levy, Martha D. Lewis and others. It is about the way she sang, about the way she lived – with passion, fire and love. In the documentary three young musicians from London, Turkey, and Israel embark on an exciting musical journey, to reveal Roza’s story for the first time. They travel from Istanbul to Thessaloniki and Athens, and through their performances, and reflections on her life and music by others, we see that world that once existed. 89 minutes. In English and other languages with English sub-titles.
“The Angry Hills” Director: Robert Aldrich, USA, 1959
Sunday, March 9, 3 PM, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall, USM Portland Campus
Set in Athens, in Piraeus and in village areas, this Hollywood hit is a good way to see Athens and Greece in the mid-1950’s! The Angry Hills was adapted from a novel of the same name written by the American novelist, Leon Uris, in 1955. The leading role of Michael “Mike” Morrison is played by Robert Mitchem. Mike is an American author and recent widower who is in Greece during World War II to receive an inheritance. When the legal papers are almost finished, his Greek lawyer asks him to take a letter to a friend in London. Soon everything turns into a nightmare for Morrison as the Germans invade Greece and the letter turns out to be of extreme importance to the resistance movement.He becomes the means to get the list of useful Hellenic figures to British Intelligence. Also starring in the film with Mitchum are Stanley Baker, Conrad Heisler, Elisabeth Müller, Lisa Kyriakides, Gia Scala, Theodore Bikel and Sebastian Cabot. Rated: R. 105 mins. In English.
“Concert for Guns”(Kontserto gia polyvola) Director: Dinos Dimopoulos 1967
Sunday, April 6, 3 PM, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall, USM Portland Campus
This war film (with a similar theme of espionage as the previous film) is one of the many dramas and comedies made during the Golden Age of Greek cinema of the 1950’s and 60’s, and features three famous Greek actors of the period. Tseni Karezi, often seen in comedic roles, is Niki, an employee handling confidential papers at the office of the Greek Army General Staff. On the eve of Greece entering World War II in 1940, she delivers sensitive military documents to the Italians, who are blackmailing her with the life of her brother. If she is caught, it could mean a death sentence. Meanwhile Niki is falling in love with a young captain (Kostas Kazakos), who also works in the office and he is in love with her. A secretive Greek General Darius (Manos Katrakis) may be her only hope. But who can she trust? 106 minutes. In Greek with English subtitles.
FALL 2013 GREEK FILM SERIES
“Beneath the 12-Mile Reef” Director: Robert D. Webb, USA, 1953
Sunday, Oct. 6, 3 PM, , Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall, USM Portland Campus
In 1905, John Cocoris introduced the technique of sponge diving to Tarpon Springs, Florida. He recruited Greek sponge divers from the Dodecanese Islands of Greece (in particular Kalymnos, Symi and Halki) leading, by the 1930s, to a very productive sponge industry generating millions of dollars a year. Filmed in Tarpon Springs, this 60 year-old film depicts the rivalry between two families. When their traditional sea beds no longer produce enough sponges for them, Greek-American divers Mike Petrakis (Gilbert Roland) and his son Tony (Robert Wagner) have to look elsewhere for sponges on the Florida Gulf coast. Others in the close-knit Greek-American sponge-diving community have started going to the 12 mile reef, but Mike will have nothing to do with the area since his other son died diving there. They encounter Thomas Rhys (Richard Boone) and Arnold Dix (Peter Graves) who rob them. With few choices left to them, they head to the deadly reef. Meanwhile a Romeo and Juliet romance develops between Rhys’ daughter Gwyneth (Terry Moore) and Tony. Edward Cronjager was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography and the director was nominated for the Grand Prize at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival. 102 minutes. In English.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 3 PM, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall, USM Portland campus
This recent documentary, shot in Patras, follows Greek schoolchildren Alexandra, Vlad and Chrysa and their love for football (soccer). Every day after school, they gather in front of their building to play an intense game of ball. But their neighbors don’t like the noise they make and regularly drive them away. But where else can they go, if there is no play area anywhere nearby? “Every child has the right to play, and we must assert our rights,” they decide. Consequently, they go to the town’s mayor and demand that a children’s playground be built on an overgrown patch of waste ground. Together in their own little meetings, and later at Town Hall, they quickly learn the difficulty of getting anything done in Greece these days. Will the children finally manage to get a place to play? 81 mins. In Greek with English sub-titles.
“Reconstruction” (“Αναπαρασταση”) Director: Theo Angelopoulos, Greece, 1970
Sunday, Dec. 8, 3 PM, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall, USM Portland Campus
Theo Angelopoulos’ first feature, this film draws on a real-life murder of a Greek worker – just returned home from Germany after a long absence – by his wife and her lover who has relieved her stark loneliness. The criminals are caught and confess their crime. The reconstruction of the title is that of the interweaving of three storylines – the inquiries of the examining magistrate; flashback sequences of the crime itself; and the making of a social documentary about the crime by a TV unit (including the director himself) and this poor village in the north. Beautifully filmed in black & white, the murder story, and its ‘reconstruction’, becomes a parable for the disruption of a community and a nation – Greece was under the rule of the military dictatorship at the time. Excerpted from a synopsis by Andreas Varagoulis. Not Rated. 100 minutes. In Greek with English sub-titles.
SPRING 2013 GREEK FILM SERIES
1960’s Comedy! “Δεσποινις Διευθυτις” (Miss Director) – Director: Dinos Dimopoulos Greece, 1964
Sunday, February 10, 3 PM, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall, USM Portland Campus
Tzeni Karezi stars in the title role of this romantic comedy. A young architect, Alekos Samiotakis (played by Alekos Alexandrakis) works in a firm that appoints a new manager – a smart and beautiful but rather “stiff” woman, Lila Vasileiou (Karezi). Sparks fly when these two meet – but of course it takes much maneuvering and many misunderstandings before they yield to the inevitable. Jenny’s doting, interfering father is played by venerable comedic actor, Dionysis Papagiannopoulos. Tzeni Karezi, a Greek film and theatre actress, was considered one of the most popular and successful actresses of the cinema of Greece. 94 min. In Greek with English subtitles.
“Zorba the Greek” – Director: Michael Cacoyiannis USA, 1964
Sunday, March 10, 3 PM, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall, USM Portland Campus
Starring Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates, and Irene Pappas. From the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis. You THINK you’ve seen it many times; but when did you see it last? An uptight English writer (Bates) traveling to Crete on a matter of business, finds his life changed forever when he meets the gregarious Alexis Zorba (Quinn). Four Academy Awards including to Lila Kedrova as Best Supporting Actress. 142 minutes. In B&W. In English.
“Parvas, agoni grammi” – Director: Gerasimos Rigas, Greek, 2008
Sunday, April 7, 3 PM, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall, USM Portland Campus
Ever wonder what life is like on a Greek island in winter…with no tourists, no guests from Athens? This documentary film traces the slow-paced daily life, for a year, of a family living in the main town of Amorgos Island in the Cyclades. The central character of the film is Dimitris Yiannakos, known as Parvas, who starts every day at 5:30 a.m., when he opens the cafenion that he runs with his wife and adult daughter. He then goes to his small piece of land where he tends his garden. The film is divided into four parts – the seasons of the year – with three of them comprised of a limited and repetitive existence. Perhaps similar to those of ancient times, these lives are tough, elemental, and spare. This film is a truthful depiction of what life is really like on these tourist islands once the crowds go home. 75 minutes. In Greek with English subtitles.