ISSN: 2241-6692


Reading the book World Film Locations: Athens – part of Intellect Books’ World Film Locations series that includes, among others, New York, Paris, and London – feels like riding a hop-on hop-off bus through time and, of course, space. The editors write: “A kind of urban nostalgia, a constant comparison between the present and the past of the city can be traced in many of the texts that comment on the films and in the photos of the locations in their contemporary state, attesting to an aesthetic and political re-evaluation of cinematic urban forms of the past and present”.

This constant comparison is evident in everyday life, still and always: A friend walking his dog in front of the Acropolis museum was approached by a family of Russian tourists. He was asked for directions towards the “Old Athens”. He tried to define what type of “old” they were looking for. Ancient old – meaning ruins and marbles and the Parthenon – or the Old City like Plaka and Monastiraki? Alas, as much as my friend tried, the Russians’ command of the English language was quite poor so that the communication ended up fruitless. Yet the city of Athens is truly old. It can afford to be divided into periods of ancient, post-revolutionary, pre-modern, quasi-modern, and what-have-you. Cinema on the other hand is – in comparison and as the cliché has it – pretty much like a baby. That does not mean, however, that it does not have a past of its own, not that it is any less intriguing. Together, they make for an exhilarating combination. ... More

Lydia Papadimitriou met actor Maria Kallimani at the 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in July 2014, where Athanasios (Thanassis) Karanikolas’s Sto Spiti/At Home was shown as part of the ‘Another View’ section, following the film’s world premiere – and Award by the Ecumenical Jury – at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Through a highly internalized and quietly expressive performance in the leading role of Nadja, Kallimani conveys very effectively the dignity of this domestic worker from Georgia, in a film that departs from stereotypical depictions of immigrants in Greece. Lydia Papadimitriou interviewed Maria Kallimani about her role in the film, her collaboration with writer/director Thanassis Karanikolas and her overall career in the cinema.

Lydia Papadimitriou : I would like to begin by asking you to introduce us to your character Nadja in At Home.

Maria Kallimani : Nadja is a domestic worker from Georgia who has lived over twenty years in Greece, and who, for the last twelve, works for a young, affluent and open-minded Greek couple and their daughter, Iris. She has an unconventional relationship with them – the wife says that she is her friend, and Nadja seems to be part of the family. However, from the opening scene we realize that Nadja has a physical weakness and she soon gets diagnosed with a disease – probably multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, this coincides with financial difficulties for the couple because of the broader economic crisis. So they decide to sack Nadja, and the situation changes dramatically for her. ... More

(Editor’s note: The following text is the Editorial of the new Journal of Greek Media and Culture, which will appear later in September both in print and online version)

At a time of increasing global interconnectivity, the launch of a new journal with an area demarcation at its title may seem anachronistic. Why would we need a journal dedicated to Greek media and culture? Yet, it is precisely the ever-expanding and increasingly faster exchange of information and ideas enabled by new technologies of communication that intensifies the need for such a platform of scholarly debates. For Greek media and culture is not, and should not be seen as, a set of insular practices relevant only to those living within the geographical boundaries of the Greek nation state, or accessible only to those who speak the Greek language. The main aim of this interdisciplinary journal is to enable productive dialogue on and about Greek media and culture at an international scale. The gradually increasing publication in English on topics related to Greek media and culture shows that such dialogue has already begun; however, the dispersed nature of the sites of publication, and the difficulties in reaching relevant readership, intensified the need for a periodic platform that would act as a hub for such exchanges. The Journal of Greek Media and Culture aims to fill that gap. ... More

(Σχ. Επ.: Τις μέρες αυτές συμπληρώνονται εφτά χρόνια από το θάνατο του Νίκου Νικολαΐδη, αιρετικού και δημοφιλούς σκηνοθέτη της γενιάς του Νέου Ελληνικού Κινηματογράφου. Το Filmicon τιμά τη μνήμη του δημοσιεύοντας μια άγνωστη επιστολή του που εμφανίστηκε στις 8 Απριλίου 1967 στη Δημοκρατική Αλλαγή, απογευματινή εφημερίδα της ΕΔΑ. Ο 28χρονος τότε Νικολαΐδης, με καυστικό και χιουμοριστικό ύφος, περιγράφει τις περιπέτειές του με τους αιθουσάρχες και την κρατική γραφειοκρατία, στην προσπάθειά του να εξασφαλίσει στην πρώτη μικρού μήκους ταινία του – Lacrimae Rerum / Δάκρυα Πραγμάτων (1962) – διανομή στους κινηματογράφους και προβολή σε διεθνή φεστιβάλ. Η απεύθυνση στον Τύπο της Αριστεράς, το αίτημα για κρατική στήριξη του κινηματογράφου τέχνης, η απαξίωση της εμπορικής παραγωγής, αλλά και οι πρώτες υποστηρικτικές νομοθετικές πρωτοβουλίες του κράτους, οι πειραματισμοί και τα ανοίγματα των νέων σκηνοθετών προς το εξωτερικό – όπως διακρίνονται στο υπόστρωμα της επιστολής του Νικολαΐδη – αποκαλύπτουν κάτι από τις ζυμώσεις και το κλίμα της εποχής λίγο πριν τη δικτατορία, που πολύ σύντομα οδήγησαν στην έκρηξη του Νέου Ελληνικού Κινηματογράφου. Έρευνα: Μαρία Χάλκου).

Αγαπητή Αλλαγή,

θέτω υπ’ όψιν των φίλων του κινηματογράφου τα παρακάτω κωμικοτραγικά:

Στις 7 Αυγούστου του1963, το Υπουργείο Βιομηχανίας έχοντας υπ’ όψιν τας διατάξεις των άρθρων 13, 16 και 17 του Ν.Δ. 4208/61 «περί μέτρων δια την ανάπτυξιν της Κινηματογραφίας εν Ελλάδι, κλπ.», αποφάσισε ομοφώνως να χαρακτηρίσει την ταινία μου ΛΑΚΡΙΜΕ ΡΕΡΟΥΜ προστατευόμενη. «Διότι αύτη παρουσιάζει καλλιτεχνικά ή πνευματικά στοιχεία» (τι πάει να πει αυτό; τρέχα γύρευε) «και «είναι άρτια από τεχνικής απόψεως» (Άρθρο 16).

Με λίγα λόγια «Οι επιχειρηματίαι κινηματογραφικών αιθουσών υποχρεούνται όπως προβάλλουν ανά τρίμηνον τέσσαρας ταινίας μικρού μήκους εκ των χαρακτηρισθεισών ως προστατευομένων». Είδατε εσείς καμιά; Το έγγραφο (Α.Π. 59405/36105/500/7.8.63) κοινοποιήθηκε στο Αρχηγείο Χωροφυλακής, Αρχηγείο Αστυνομίας Πόλεων, στην ΠΟΚΕ, ΠΕΚ και «προς άπαντας τους επιχειρηματίας κινηματογραφικών αιθουσών (τη μερίμνη υποτίθεται της Χωροφυλακής), Αστυνομίαν και «προς εκτέλεσιν» (υποτίθεται) (Άρθρο 17). ... More

(Σχ. Επιμ: Το κείμενο που ακολουθεί αποτελείται από αποσπάσματα του βιβλίου Οι Τέσσερις Εποχές του Νίκου Κούνδουρου (2014) του Λευτέρη Ξανθόπουλου, εκδόσεις Γαβριηλίδης, που δημοσιεύονται με την ευγενική άδεια του συγγραφέα και του εκδοτικού οίκου.)

Ευτυχώς για μας, ο Κούνδουρος ξεκίνησε να κάνει σινεμά στις αρχές του 1950 χωρίς να έχει μάθει ή χωρίς να χρειάζεται να μάθει την τέχνη και την τεχνική του κινηματογράφου. Με σπουδές ζωγραφικής και γλυπτικής στην Αρχιτεκτονική Αθηνών και στη Σχολή Καλών Τεχνών και με μια ιδιαίτερη, έμφυτη εικαστική ματιά πάνω στα πράγματα, στο κάδρο που τα εμπεριέχει και τους ανθρώπους τριγύρω του, μπαίνει δυναμικά στον ελληνικό κινηματογράφο, ευτυχώς θα το ξαναπώ, αυτοδίδακτος και στη συνέχεια αυτοδημιούργητος!

Ήθελα να είμαι ζωγράφος, μοναχικός. Είχα μια πίστη καλογερίστικη για τη ζωγραφική, τον ασκητισμό, ονειρευόμουνα μια μοναξιά γεμάτη φως... Τα πρόδωσα όλα; Μου θόλωσε το νου η θριαμβευτική ζωγραφική της κινούμενης εικόνας. (Ν.Κ., ό.α., σελ. 206).

... More

I had the chance to see the Greek documentary KISMET (Nina Maria Paschalidou, 2013) courtesy of the professional platform, and found it of great interest for a wider community, so I thought to say a few things about it here.

On visits to my native country of Bulgaria in recent years I could not help noticing that a new cultural import, Turkish soap operas, has been changing the pattern of female viewing. My mother, an intellectual in her 80s, has made a series called FATMAGUL (Fatmagül'ün Suçu Ne?, 2010/2011) a staple in her daily routines — for a woman who would normally only watch concert performances of classical music, this was quite a change of habit. Then, going to visit friends in their village houses I observed that at certain times the streets go completely empty, and life comes to a standstill — the schedule of meals is adjusted around the schedule of the networks showing the Turkish soaps. When women get together the developments of the most recent episodes are a major topic for conversation. Last summer, in 2013, I crossed into neighbouring Serbia to learn during the visit to Novi Sad that the wife of my friend is also irretrievably addicted to a Turkish soap, THE MAGNIFICENT CENTURY in this instance. I can only compare this situation to the airing of the British TV series FORSYTE SAGA (1967) during my childhood — back then the streets would also go empty and mealtimes would be rearranged to fit the TV schedule. ... More

(Σημ. επιμ: Το κείμενο που ακολουθεί είναι πολύ διαφορετικό από αυτά που συνήθως δημοσιεύει το Filmicon. Γραμμένο από μια κινηματογραφίστρια, δεν μιλά για τον κινηματογράφο. Αλλά για το τεράστιο ανθρωπιστικό πρόβλημα του πνιγμού προσφύγων που επιχειρούν να διασχίσουν τα θαλάσσια σύνορα).

Ξημερώματα Τρίτης 3/6/2014, ένας νεαρός Αφγανός πέφτει στην θάλασσα μαζί με τους υπόλοιπους 14 επιβάτες της πλαστικής βάρκας που τους έφερνε στη Μυτιλήνη. Τρόμαξαν από ένα σκάφος που είδαν να πλησιάζει. Βρίσκονταν 150 μέτρα από τη στεριά κι έπεσαν στο νερό για να μην τους γυρίσει πίσω το λιμενικό. Ο 19χρονος δεν βγήκε ζωντανός, το σώμα του το βρήκε λίγο αργότερα το λιμενικό στην ακτή Τσώνια. Κάποιος δημοσιογράφος, μάλιστα, βιαστικά τον χαρακτήρισε οικονομικό μετανάστη. Λες και οι νεκροί έχουν ταμπέλες. Λες και οι νεκροί δίνουν συνέντευξη για άσυλο και απορρίπτονται κιόλας. ... More

This is an ethnographic discussion of the presentation and the construction of the self in the Internet Era and, more specifically, on Facebook, one of the most popular websites of social interaction.

Facebook falls under the broader context of cyberspace, which, as an object of anthropological interest, belongs to the broader research context of what ethnographers call “multi-sited fields” (Marcus 1995). As Marcus explains, “[…] any ethnography of a cultural formation in the world system is also an ethnography of the system, and therefore cannot be understood only in terms of the conventional single-site mise-en-scene of ethnographic research” (1995: 99). Here, Facebook is approached as such a cultural formation, whose ethnographic study requires a redefinition of key concepts (e.g. time, space, and – in our case – identity) as parts of a multi-sited context.

In addition, cyberspace, from a philosophical point of view, integrates into the concept of virtual reality. Virtual reality, according to Pierre Lévy, is a way for the actual reality to become innovative and powerful, to give space for creation and to open the horizons for potential features and meanings beyond the shallowness of the immediate physical presence (Lévy 1995: 16). However, the virtual should not be considered as the opposite of actual reality. “Virtuality” is not a simple representation but mostly a transition of space, time, the self and other elements that constitute the new conditions of the existence (Lévy 1995: 30). In order for this recreation to be established, the French philosopher (Lévy 1995: 30) introduces in his analysis the term “deterritorialisation” describing the situation when space and time are reinvented in a reality with no common characteristics of what we perceive as actual reality and where the construction of the self occurs in a different context. ... More

(Writer’s note: The following text is a general description of a PhD project in progress at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication of the University of Gothenburg. I would like to take this opportunity to invite thoughts, comments and suggestions for literature and/or audiovisual material which the project could benefit from. What is more, it would be highly appreciated if this project could be communicated to people from the Greek television industry who would be interested in contributing in the form of interviews with the researcher. For more information about the project or for feedback, suggestions, etc., I can be contacted by email:

In December 2012, during one of the most difficult seasons for Greek television fiction, a public discussion took place with the title “The magnificent absence of television fiction from Greek television” organized by the Scriptwriters Guild of Greece (1). Indeed, the seasons 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 marked a record low for the production of domestic fiction, both in terms of public and private broadcasting. Up until then, and especially after the deregulation of broadcasting in 1989, fictional programmes held a very prestigious position within the programming strategies of the channels and were mostly shown during the prime-time slots. However, when the economic crisis hit Greece, fictional programmes were framed as one of the greatest victims since the channels had to cut down on costs, and fiction has always been an expensive programme to make. Hence, during the above discussion, people from the industry talked about the dangers of having a media landscape without fictional programmes, the importance of fiction for the audience’s social imagination, the function of fiction as a provider of guidelines for everyday life and the value of fiction as a cultural product associated with national culture. ... More

Unquestionably, Little England, Pantelis Voulgaris’ latest film, is made for the big screen: it is monumental and expansive, a fresco structured around long shots with expressive depth of field and a unique visual perspective transporting spectators to the precarious boundaries between pathos and sentimentalism. The film is framed by the excess of emotions that permeate both story and representation: there is no distancing vacuum in its mise-en-scène: everything is full of a powerful rhetoric that suspends the resistances of the spectator through its rejection of both naturalism and illusionism at the same time.

The story itself is quiet complex and intriguing: set in the 1930s and 1940s, it is about the love affair of two sisters with the same man, within the provincial society on the island of Andros (affectionately called ‘Little England’, as its small society imitated to social organisation of the mighty English naval empire). Their mother (Aneza Papadopoulou), the viper, as she is called, decides, for reasons of financial security, to marry the second daughter Moscha (Sophia Kokkali) with the man that the first is in love with (Andreas Konstantinou) and the first Orsa (Penelope Tsilika) with a powerful and wealthy shipowner (Maximos Moumouris). After her decision, the house, which was built by herself and her husband who is travelling for years in distant countries, becomes the haunted place of a bizarre and tense coexistence. The secret love remains secret until Moscha’s husband is killed during the Second World War in the most explosive moment of the film. Orsa’s mental state disintegrates, while later her letters to her first love are discovered and explain to her sister and her own family how it happened. ... More