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Words and images in counterpoint October 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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Lucia Rikaki’s film “The Commons: What We Hold in Common” is screening at noon today at the Halkida Greek Documentary Film Festival.

The film was commissioned for a writers’ symposium of the same name held on Paros in May 2006. The symposium, organized by the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, brought writers from around the world together to share their ideas and concerns in a revival of Plato’s Symposium.

For Rikaki, the challenge was to convey a week’s proceedings in the language of cinema. Her solution, she said, was to create a kind of visual essay in response to the essays the participants had already posted, in a counterpoint of words and images.

“Their words were so powerful, I knew I already had a solid basis,” she said, “but I didn’t want to do a talking heads movie.” Instead, Rikaki filmed individual participants in settings ranging from a fishing trip to the cemetery and the village school.

She still needed lots of images, “so I found myself digging through my archives for pictures to use.” That excavation turned up shots like the one above taken from a hotel room in Dubai in 2006, showing neighbors sleeping in their courtyards, which the director paired with a poem by Israeli writer Amir Or.

At the Papadimitriou Theater, 1 Siokou Street, Chalkida.

Related Links > Greek Documentary Film Festival of Chalkida [in Greek language only] > http://www.docfest.gr

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An exhibition by six universal Greek fashion designers October 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Arts Exhibitions Cyprus, Arts Museums, Fashion & Style.
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Greek fashion from days gone by > Get a different take on vintage at an exhibition of the designs of Greek designers who had a huge impact on the international fashion industry

Fashion is made to become unfashionable, Coco Channel once said. Coming from a world famous designer who ruled over Parisian haute couture for almost six decades, he must have known what he was talking about.

What’s ‘hot’ this season is ‘so not’ next season. What’s a ‘must have’ this winter will be considered terribly outdated next year. The fashion industry certainly knows how to grab our attention, making us desire things we would never have previously dreamt of wearing.

But there are times when celebrities tire of parading all the modern designs around. So what they do? Easy peasy. They re-invent a look from days gone by and walk down the red carpet in some vintage dress that makes them look a million dollars. And all of a sudden, it becomes the coolest and hippest thing to do as women around the world rush to recreate that porcelain skinned, red lipsticked, ‘belle of the ball’ look.

A few years back Renee Zellweger wore a lemon yellow strapless 1950s Jean Desses gown to the Academy Awards and the cameras would not stop snapping away at her. Jennifer Lopez also wore a moss green Desses gown, made with 50 yards of chiffon, to the 2006 Academy Awards and the crowds stood back in awe. The point is, both these celebrities were wearing dresses by one of the fabulous Greek designers that took the fashion world by storm in 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. But many of us are not even aware of their contribution to the fashion industry.

Thanks to an exhibition at the Leventis Museum in Nicosia, you now have the chance to view the works of six pioneering Greek fashion designers within the framework of a wider exhibition by the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation. The fashion exhibition is taking place in the temporary exhibition hall, presenting important creations by Jean Desses, Yiannis Evangelides, James Galanos, Dimis Kritsas, George Stavropoulos and Yiannis Tseklenis.

After the Greek industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century, Greek men and women adopted ‘European’ fashions without it ever really being possible to establish a Greek haute couture. As Greek designers travelled abroad to make names for themselves in the 20th century, European and American women were beginning to wear intricate designs influenced by Greek fashion.

Desses in particular specialised in creating draped evening gowns in chiffon and mousseline based on early Greek and Egyptian robes. Moving to Paris in the 1920s, he started up his own couture house in the late 1930s, as well as his own perfume line.

Among his clientele were the Queen and Royal Princess of Greece, the Duchess of Windsor and society hostess, Elsa Maxwell. In 1962, he designed the wedding gown worn by Princess Sophia of Greece in her marriage to the future King Juan Carlos of Spain. In 1963 he retired to Greece because of poor health and passed away in Athens in 1970. But his legacy lived on. Recently, his fashion designs have seen a strong revival with the increased interest in vintage dresses.

Take a wander around the exhibition at the Leventis and you’ll feel like you’ve truly entered a world of the rich and famous of the past. You certainly won’t be able to miss the dresses of James Galanos, the Greek designer who had everyone talking in New York in the 1940s, swiftly gaining a reputation among high society. This is the man who designed gowns for Nancy Reagan, wife of Ronald Reagan, and whose work is characterised by fine craftsmanship, particularly in the use of hand beading, full, loose dresses and chiffon coats over simple sheaths, as well as the extensive use of silk fabrics.

Having studied fashion in New York in the 1940s, Galanos went on to work for top fashion designers in Paris and New York and soon opened up his very own Galanos Originals shop in Los Angeles. In 1985, Galanos received the Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000, the City of New York began honouring fashion designers by placing bronze plaques along the pavement of 7th Avenue. Dubbed the ‘Fashion Walk of Fame’, Galanos was one of the first designers to be honoured. Though he officially retired in 1998, Galanos continues to make his presence known in the fashion world.

As you browse through the hall, also be sure to take a look at the designs of Yiannis Tseklenis that have been sold by leading stores in more than 20 countries worldwide, winning himself a niche in the wardrobe of thousands of well dressed women and men since 1965. You’ll even get to see the dresses of Dimis Kritsas, who started his spectacular career designing for Jaqceus Fath and the super trendy Balenciaga. If you love designs from days gone by, don’t miss this exhibition that gives you a glimpse into the biggest names that put Greece on the international fashion map.

Six Universal Greek Fashion Designers > The exhibition displays the work of the pioneer Greek designers, Jean Desses, Yiannis Evangelides, James Galanos, Dimis Kritsas, George Stavropoulos and Yiannis Tseklenis. Until October 28. Temporary Exhibitions Hall, The Leventis Municipal Museum, 17 Hippocrates Street., Laiki Yitonia, Nicosia, tel 22 661475 and 2 2671997.

Related Links > http://www.nicosia.org.cy and http://www.nicosia.org.cy/english/ipiresies_politistika_leventio.shtm

Art on and in the bottle October 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Cyprus, Wine And Spirits.
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Limited edition wine bottles launched in Paphos, Cyprus

Wine containers have always been marked to give the drinker a rough idea of the history of the wine. When excavating the tomb of Tutankhamen, Howard Carter found a stock of small amphoras each inscribed with the vintage, vineyard and name of the winemaker. Then, in the 18th century, labels were introduced made of parchment. Later, when glue was commercially available, labels pasted onto wine bottles became the norm.

Over the years many famous artists have been commissioned to create unique wine labels for such illustrious houses such as Mouton Rothschild, and keeping up the tradition here in Cyprus is young wine maker Angelos Tsangarides in partnership with artist Joep Klinkenbijl.

Angelos, owner of the Tsangarides Winery, last month celebrated the launch of his limited edition wine labels at the Palia Polis Restaurant in Paphos. He had commissioned a triptych from artist Joep Klinkenbijl, which will be now be displayed on the bottles of his 2006 range of excellent Ayios Ephraim: rose, red and white. During the cocktail reception, the artist then offered the art work up for auction, which went on to generate much needed funds for the Paphiakos Animal Welfare Charity.

Just for the record, there have been some minor scandals regarding the use of risque artwork on wine labels. A fine example has to be the launch made in the 1980s by a now famous winemaker of his sparkling burgundy carrying the name Rene Pogel. This seemed innocent enough and sales went very well until, that is, someone worked out what Rene Pogel meant when spelt backwards. The wine then had to be hastily withdrawn, but unfortunately I have never seen the label used to accompany the bottle, this I believe could be a real collector’s item now.

Tsangarides Winery > Lemona Village, Paphos. Opening hours Saturday and Sunday 9am-6pm or during the week by appointment. Tel: 26 722777 or 99 459232.

Big names expected to appear at TIFF October 11, 2007

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A tribute to indie icon and screenwriter and director John Sayles at the 48th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, November 16-25, will bring the director and writer to the northern Greek city next month to attend the premiere of his latest film, “Honeydripper,” along with actor Danny Glover, and to present a master class in directing on Friday, November 23.

The tribute will also bring Maggie Renzi, Sayles’s longtime creative partner, in life and in art, Chris Cooper, star of Sayles’s hit “Lone Star” (1996), as well as David Strathairn, a close friend of Sayles’s and an actor in his debut “Return of the Secaucus 7” (1980).

Sayles, who has penned his own screenplays or worked with other writers on such diverse genres as horror (“Piranha,” “The Howling” and “Alligator”), sci-fi thrillers (“Battle Beyond the Stars”), dramas (“Lianna”), sports dramas (“Eight Men Out”), western (“The Quick and the Dead”), historical thriller (“Apollo 13”), action (“Men of War”), monster flick (“Mimic”), romance, historical epic, and animated features.

In “Honeydripper,” Sayles travels to 1950s Alabama to trace the roots of rock ‘n’ roll, through the story of a juke joint owner (Tyrone “Pine Top” Purvis, played by Glover), who tries to save his business. The cast further includes Charles Dutton, Stacey Keach, LisaGay Hamilton, Mary Steenbergen, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Kel Mitchell, Yaya DaCosta, R&B legend Mabel John, singer-songwriter Keb’ Mo’ and Austin guitar sensation Gary Clark Jr. The movie, like most of his projects, is independently financed.

Related Links > http://www.filmfestival.gr

Panorama of European Cinema > A labor of love over 20 years October 11, 2007

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Panorama of European Cinema, organized annually, has a rich anniversary program > Cate Blanchett dons her ruff once more to play Queen Elizabeth I in Shekhar Kapur’s ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age,’ which will be shown at the festival in an avant-premiere screening.

The Panorama of European Cinema, organized annually by the Eleftherotypia daily, is rich, varied and has been put together with passion and diligence for the past 20 years by film critic Ninos Fenek Mikelidis. Starting today and running until October 21 at the Ideal, Mikrokosmos and Trianon movie theaters in central Athens, the inauguration of this year’s anniversary edition will take place at 8 p.m. in the courthouse courtyard across the street from the Ideal on Panepistimiou Street, with a concert by the City of Athens Philharmonic Orchestra performing music from films.

Opening the festival on the big screen will be “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” a Golden Palm-winning drama by Romania’s Christian Mungiu, which takes a comic look at the story of a woman who helps her friend arrange an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania before the fall of Ceausescu.

This year’s program of the 20th Panorama, apart from the customary new releases and the competition section with European productions whose rights have been purchased by Greek distributors, also promises a number of interesting tributes.

“Make Love Not War: The Age of Doubt – Then and Now” covers the hippie era, Woodstock, demonstrations against the Vietnam War, the May 1968 protests in France and the Watergate scandal, all the way to the globalization debate and the recent Guantanamo Bay scandal. Among the movies that will be shown are: Dennis Hopper’s “Easy Rider” (1969), D.A. Pennebaker’s anti-Vietnam War musical documentary “Monterey Pop” (1968), Arthur Penn’s “Alice’s Restaurant” (1969) and Robert Altman’s “MASH” (1970), among others.

“Cult Movies and B-Movies” presents horrors and science-fiction thrillers, to film noir and westerns. “Carnival of Souls” by Herk Harvey (1962), “A Bucket of Blood” by Roger Corman (1959), the B-western “Forty Guns” (1957) by Samuel Fuller, “Performance”  (1970) by Donald Cammell and Nicholas Roeg and “Freaks” (1932) by Tod Browning are just some of the selections on the menu.

There is also a section on Greek cinema that addresses controversial social issues, with selected films by Stavros Tornes, Vassilis Vafeas, Nikos Nikolaidis and Yiannis Economides.

Cate Blanchett will return as Queen Elizabeth I in Shekhar Kapur’s “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” which will be shown at the festival in an avant-premiere screening, while there is also a tribute to Orson Welles. Other avant-premieres include “Factory Girl,” a biographical drama by George Hickenlooper, starring Sienna Miller and Guy Pierce; Ang Lee’s war thriller “Lust Caution;” Golden Palm-nominated drama “Import/Export” by Austria’s Ulrich Seidl; Manuel Huerga’s portrait of Spanish anarchist and bank robber Salvador Puig Antich, “Salvador;” and Emir Kusturica’s new drama, “Promise Me This.”

Most of the tribute screenings will be held at the Trianon on Patission Street and at Mikrokosmos on Syngrou Avenue. The cinema figure to be honored this year at the 20th Panorama is Ken Loach, who will attend the closing ceremony and the screening of his latest film, the drama “It’s a Free World.”

Theatres > Ideal Cinema, 46 Panepistimiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3826720, Trianon Filmcenter, 21 Kodriktonos Street, Athens, tel 210 8215305, Microcosmos Filmcenter, 106, Syngrou Avenue, Athens, tel 210 9215305.

Related Links > http://www.panoramafest.com

An Indian Film Festival in Nicosia October 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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Friends of the Cinema > Indian Film Festival in Nicosia

Not just talking about the Indian Film Festival, which runs from tonight till next Sunday at the Cine Studio in Nicosia, but the autumn schedule of the Friends of the Cinema Society, which presents it in collaboration with the Indian High Commission, and continues to impress with its commitment to quality cinema. Not that Hollywood doesn’t also produce good films but, with a new five-screen multiplex now appearing at the Mall of Cyprus, it’s useful to remember that we have alternatives to the usual fodder.

The Indian Film Festival is a wonderful alternative, the six films comprised of two recent releases and four classics. The only slight quibble is that the classics are all on the serious side, it would’ve been nice to show some big Bollywood hits from the 70s like ‘Sholay’ and ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, though ‘Pather Panchali’ (1955) is indispensable. This was the film that introduced Indian cinema to the West, a child’s-eye drama of a poor family in West Bengal; it won a special award at Cannes, and remains beautifully lyrical and sensitive. Those who like it should check out the other two parts of the Apu Trilogy, ‘Aparajito’ and ‘The World of Apu’.

Also on the bill is ‘The Cloud-Capped Star’ (1960), another much-acclaimed drama, this one set in Calcutta, made by critical favourite Ritwik Ghatak, while ‘Pakeezah’  (1972) is rip-roaring melodrama, and also won plaudits in its day. That leaves Raj Kapoor’s Awara (1951), another glorious melodrama usually counted among Bollywood’s greatest achievements, and the two new films, ‘Dil Se’ (1998) and ‘Koi … Mil Gaya’ (2003), neither of which I’ve seen, though I’ve heard good things about ‘Dil Se’ at least.

They’re showing various films already screened at the Pantheon in Nicosia, notably ‘The Lives of Others’ and ‘La Vie en Rose’, plus a German Film Festival later on this month, a couple of screenings of ‘The Seventh Seal’ (1957) to mark the recent death of Ingmar Bergman, and the new Lars Von Trier comedy ‘The Boss of It All’.

Good luck to the Friends. Details at www.ofk.org.cy, or call 96 420491.

Greece participates at the Frankfurt Book Fair October 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life, Books Life Greek.
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Greek publishers participate at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest in the world, which opened yesterday.

Greece is present at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which started yesterday. The Panhellenic Federation of Publishers and Booksellers (POEB) is representing the Greek book trade with a collective stand, while 13 Greek publishers have their own stands. Speaking to the press last week in Athens, the new administration of POEB explained their policy for promoting Greek books more effectively at book fairs. Instead of simply asking publishers for “books for Frankfurt,” as in the past, POEB’s librarians have made a selection of books that are likely to interest foreign rights buyers. In the future, they will take only books published in the previous 12 months.

The National Book Center of Greece (EKEBI) is using part of the POEB stand at Frankfurt to promote the Thessaloniki Book Fair by actively schmoozing with makers and shakers in the book world.

One strong card that Greek publishers can now play when selling foreign rights is the news that the Culture Ministry’s long moribund program for supporting translations of Greek books has at last been reactivated.

Frankfurt Book Fair, a subsidiary of the German Publishers & Book Sellers’ Association is the world’s largest book fair, attracting more than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries.