Bilingual site shared with Nancy Snipper, acclaimed author and cultural affairs journalist. July 2016 ushers in her new site: SN Travel and Arts without Borders. Check it out!
Site bilingue partagé avec Nancy Snipper, auteur acclamé et journaliste des affaires culturelles. Juillet 2016 inaugure sa nouvelle site: SN Travel and Arts without Borders. Vérifiez-le!
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Documentaries proved most
impressive by Nancy Snipper
The 2012 Greek Film Festival
(October 25th - November 03rd) is offering an award-winning
program in its fourth year to the delight of the Montreal public. Features,
such as these classics - Electra, Stella, Mediterraneo and Medea, are drawing in the crowds as are
new films, such as J.A.C.E., and Dos. Avra Georgiou the Director and
Programmer for this successful event has selected a diverse collection of films
– old and new, and the fact that documentaries are part of the program makes
the festival all the more diverse and important.
Encardia, the Dancing Soul, (directed by Angelos Kovotsos) brings the ‘griko’ language back to life as a
group of Greek musicians travel to Southern Italy to connect with other
musicians, researchers and folk who once spoke this poetic dialect with Italian
words. Griko is rooted in ancient Greek.
(directed by Mike Beckham) - another interesting documentary reveals to the world a computer designed to
calculate astronomical positions 2000 years ago. By chance, fishermen had
pulled it up from a wreck over 100 years ago, but it wasn’t until 1978 that its
true significance was understood, thanks to the initial efforts of Jacques-Yves
Cousteau who visited the wreck at that time. Kythera, the birth place of
Aphrodite, and now populated by an inordinate number of Australians is a tiny
little island that I once visited while living in Crete.
It is enchanting and seems to hold a thousand secrets – one of which is
revealed in this film (Antikythera is right near Kythera).
Engaging for all
filmmakers was the film Cineastes (directed by Menelaos Karamaghiolis). This documentary gives the great filmmaker and champion for the undiscovered ones – Pierre
Rissient his due. This man was responsible for not only making great films but
for bringing to light the works of a young Quentin Tartantino, Abas Kiarastami,
and many icons, including for Clint Eastwood. A young obsessive film student
holds the camera up to these major veteran players, revealing their invaluable
input, wisdom about filmmaking and the risks they all took to follow their love
As a musician and
lover of Crete, the film that grabbed my
attention was Wandering Soul (directed by Angeliki Aristomenopaulo). Yiannis
Angelakas, a Cretan rock musician who follows no drum but his own, works with
other maverick musicians to create a new kind of sound and voice for all freedom
fighters. He rejects notion of marketing, fame and selling out in favour of his
gypsy-like tendencies to create spontaneously and perform where the spirit
takes him. His lyrics and thoughts seem to conjure up the great philosophers of
old. He is a true Cretan. One of the best scenes takes place in an old ruin
where the musicians and some friends gather and huddle inside. It’s big enough
to make a fire in. Until the wee hours of the night, they all sing old Cretan
songs together and drink raki. Is this not how life should be?
The sounds of
rembetiko, and the polyphonic haunting music of Epirus fittingly end this film as
the final scene brings them all together in that small stone ruin. The music
they make there echoes a way of life that is rapidly disappearing. Greece’s
heroes not only reside in the pantheon of Gods.
One real-life hero - a
legend within this country’s historical context was Eleftherios Venizelos (1864-1936).
If you wish to
understand how Greece
got its freedom, you must attend this 3 hour classic, Eleftherios Venizelos:1910-1927 (directed by Pantelis Voulgaris). To this day, this iconic Greek
hero remains in the hearts and minds of all Greeks. A man who sacrificed it all
on behalf of his county, Venizelos is credited with being ‘The Father of Modern
Greece’. No matter turmoil Greece endures, this astounding country will always
rise up against the yoke of any kind of tyranny.