SYDNEY – Since the release of the book, film and music of the same name, Zorba the Greek has spawned a culture of its own. But while the character of Zorba may be stereotypical to some, according to the Ouzo Talk Podcast, it’s much more than that.
In the latest episode of the Australian-based podcast for the Greek diaspora, co-hosts Tom Skolarikis and Nick Athanassiou take a deep-dive into the iconic modern Greek text with some heavy-hitting help. Sydney University’s Sir Nicholas Laurantos Chair in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Professor Vrasidas Karalis, drives the conversation with his insights and personal connections to the film, while renowned Sydney 2000 Olympics conductor/composer George Ellis – an expert on the work of Mikis Theodorakis – provides commentary on the iconic score.
“For over a period of 50 years, if I may say, it’s the only Greek novel that is re-printed to this day,” Professor Karalis told Ouzo Talk. “The book became very popular – especially in France, Germany, and then with the English translation in 1956, became one of the best sellers.
“We estimate 38 re-prints of the novel, and [it has been] translated into 67 different languages. Believe it or not it’s a very popular book in the Arab countries. In Israel, he [Zorba] was a cult figure before the film. And also believe it or not in India, in Vietnam, in China. During the 60s – It epitomized what we call ‘the seduction’ of the Mediterranean.”
From dissecting the themes and messages of the original Nikos Kazantzakis novel to hearing personal stories from Karalis and Ellis about meeting Alan Bates and Mikis Theodorakis respectively, the episode is a celebration of what is perhaps modern Greece’s most iconic text.
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