x

Culture

Kazantzakis at Museum of Moving Image

December 12, 2018
Vasilis Voultsos

ASTORIA – The Hellenic Film Society USA presented the biographical film Kazantzakis on December 9 at the Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in Astoria, part of the Always on Sunday Greek film series.

The film takes on the difficult task of presenting the whole life, from childhood to death, of one of the most complex and valued writers of the twentieth century, Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957). The script was based on Kazantzakis’ Report to Greco, the fictionalized account of Kazantzakis’s own life, a sort of intellectual autobiography framed as a report to the Spanish Renaissance painter, and fellow Cretan, El Greco.

Kazantzakis’ fame has grown over the years through film adaptations of his works, including Christ Recrucified, The Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas, and The Last Temptation of Christ. Beloved by the Greek people and well-known abroad, Kazantzakis was born in 1883 in Crete, at a time when the island was still part of the Ottoman Empire.

The film introduces Kazantzakis in his childhood and attempts to reconcile him with the personality of his explosive and often violent father. After the liberation of Crete, we follow the writer to Athens, where he studied law and began his efforts to find a course for his life.

The film continues through the events of his friendship with poet Angelos Sikelianos and the writer’s travels. We see his anxiousness to discover God, his often complicated relationships with women, and his romantic relationship with his wife, Eleni Samiou.

Iannis Smaragdis, whose films include Kavafis, El Greco, and God Loves Caviar, is an experienced historian and creates visually stunning films.

Inevitably, Kazantzakis’ passion with Greece and the director’s beautifully crafted shots impressed the audience who crowded MoMI to see the film.

The aesthetics and solid performances by the actors, especially Odysseas Papaspiliopoulos as Kazantzakis and Marina Kalogirou as his wife, are among the positive aspects of the film.

On the negative side, the often superficial approach to complex issues and the difficulty of capturing the richness of Kazantzakis’ language in film marred the overall effect of the film.

Hellenic Film Society Founder and member of the Board of Directors James Demetro introduced the film, noting that “we met with director Smaragdis in Athens three weeks ago and he asked me to convey his thanks to the public, who is here today.”

The film had its official premiere at the Houston International Independent Film Festival, where it won the Grand Remi Prize for Best Feature Film. Smaragdis’ next project will again be a historical drama, based on the life and work of the first President of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias.

The sold out screening is the last of 2018 and Greek film fans will have to wait until January 27, 2019 for the next screening in the film series at MoMI when the Hellenic Film Society presents Maria by Callas: In Her Own Words. The documentary film about the iconic opera diva Maria Callas, directed by Tom Volf, has received rave reviews. Film fans are urged to purchase tickets in advance online through the MoMI website: movingimage.us or the Hellenic Film Society USA: hellenicfilmusa.org.

RELATED

LONDON - A second generation Greek-Cypriot in London, Georgina Hayden has used her heritage to write cookbooks showing off recipes from her homeland and her latest, Greekish, offers everything from Baklava cheesecake to Burnt Butter Eggs and Goat’s Cheese.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

1 of 2 Abducted Louisiana Children is Found Dead in Mississippi after Their Mother is Killed

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Louisiana woman was found dead in her home Thursday, and her two young daughters were abducted and found hours later in Mississippi — one dead and the other alive, police said.

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany  — Jude Bellingham scored to give England a winning start at the European Championship by beating Serbia 1-0 on Sunday.

BALTIMORE  — Gunnar Henderson hit his eighth leadoff homer of the season, and three more Orioles also went deep off Zack Wheeler to help Baltimore beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-3 on Sunday.

OBBÜRGEN, Switzerland  — Nearly 80 countries called Sunday for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine to be the basis for any peace agreement to end Russia’s two-year war, though some key developing nations at a Swiss conference did not join in.

ATHENS - Four years after the COVID-19 pandemic shut international travel and kept tourists away from Greece, the government now wants  to limit how many cruise ships can dock at popular islands because there are too many tourists.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.