A tribute to Michalis Cacoyiannis


With a series of films, the Athens Centre presents a tribute to Michalis Cacoyiannis, who was a prominent Greek filmmaker from Cyprus, best known for his 1964 film Zorba the Greek. He was born June 11, 1922 and died recently on July 25, 2011. He directed the 1983 Broadway revival of the musical based on the film. Much of his work was rooted in classical texts, especially those of the Greek tragedian Euripides. He was nominatedfor an Academy Award five times, received Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film nominations for Zorba the Greek, and two nominations in the Foreign Language Film category for Electra and Iphigenia. 


Here is a selection of film screenings from his rich filmography:





The first projection was “Alexis Zorbas based on a novel by the legendary writer Nikos Kazantzis and with music by just as legendary composer Mikis Theodorakis. «Alexis Zorbas» is one of the most influential works in Greece’s cinematography. It unites the most important artists from different genres in Greece at that time, and shows the passion and lust for life that is so typical for Greece. Starring Anthony Quinn as an aimless Englishman who finds he has a small inheritance on a Greek island. His joyless existence is disturbed when he meets Zorba, a middle aged Greek with a real lust for life. As he discovers the earthy pleasures of Greece, the Englishman finds his view on life changing.

This event took place at the Athens Centre, on September, 1, 2011, from 6:00pm until 8:00pm



The second projection will be «Electra», a 1962 Greek film based on the play, Electra, written by Euripides. It was directed by Michael Cacoyannis, as the first installement of his «Greek tragedy» trilogy, followed by The Trojan Women in 1971 and Iphigenia in 1977. It starred Irene Papas in the lead role as Elektra, and Yannis Fertis as Orestis. The film was entered into the 1962 Cannes Film Festival where it won the award of Best Cinematic Transposition. Irene Papas shines in the first film in Michael Cacoyannis’ Euripides trilogy. Some consider this to be among the finest screen adaptations of classical Greek tragedy. Papas is an undeniable force, commanding the screen as the daughter who plots the murder of her mother as an act of vengeance for the death of her father. An Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. The film is in Greek with English subtitles. 

This event took place at the Athens Centre, on September, 8, 2011, from 6:00pm until 8:00pm


The third projection of the tribute to Michalis Cacoyiannis will be his movie «Stella», filmed in 1955, which initially sparked great controversy with Greek critics, is now considered one of the five greatest Greek films and unites great artists from all genres: the legendary actress Melina Mercouri, the prominent Cypriot filmmaker Michael Cacoyiannis, with music by Greece’s most famous musician Manos Hadjidakis with Vassilis Tsitsanis. Michalis Cacoyiannis himself is starred in the movie as a wedding guest. The movie is retelling the story of Carmen in Greece. The main character Stella, a rembetika singer, is in love with Miltos but refuses to marry him. It has been said that the story of Stella’s forced marriage symbolises the forces that are constantly trying to impose their will on Greece.

This event took place at the Athens Centre, on Monday, September, 12, 2011, at 6:00pm


The tribute to Michalis Cacoyiannis will continue next week, with his movie «Iphigenia». Iphigenia is a 1977 Greek film based on the Greek myth of Iphigenia, the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra who was ordered by the goddess Artemis to be sacrificed. Cacoyannis adapted the film, the third in his «Greek tragedy» trilogy (after the released of Electra in 1962 and The Trojan Women in 1971), from his stage production of Euripides’ play Iphigenia at Aulis. The film stars Tatiana  Papamoschou as Iphigenia, Kostas Kazakos as Agamemnon, and the legendary actress Irene Papas as Clytemnestra. The score was composed by Mikis Theodorakis.
Iphigenia was nominated for one Oscar, Best Foreign Language Film. It was also nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival. Iphigenia received the 1978 Belgian Femina Award, and received the Best Film Award at the 1977 Thessaloniki Film Festival, where Tatiania Papamoschou also received the Best Leading Actress Award for her role as Iphigenia.

This event took place at the Athens Centre, on September, 20, 2011, from 18:00 until 20:00



This comedy (transl. Up, down and sideways) is one of the latest films by Michalis Cacoyiannis, filmed in 1993, a comedy on life in modern Athens. The film shows rich Maria and her son Stavros that enmesh in erotic adventures. The movie stars taxi drivers, navy soldiers on leave, transvestites, terrorists, the famous opera singers Maria Callas (!) and others in an entanglement of unexpected events!

This event will take place at the Athens Centre, on September, 27, 2011, from 18:00 until 20:00



Times and dates for the following projections will be announced soon.

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