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Last Voyage for Theo Angelopoulos

Angelopoulos can be counted

as one of the few filmmakers
in cinema’s first hundred years
 who compel us to redefine
what we feel cinema is and can be.”
Andrew Horton

World-acclaimed film director, and ambassador of Greek cinema abroad, Theo Angelopoulos died on the 24th January, after being hit by a motorcycle, while filming in Drapetsona, near Pireaus. Winner of several international film awards, Angelopoulos had started shooting his latest film, The Other Sea, earlier this month. His untimely death hit headlines around the globe.
Angelopoulos was born in Athens in 1935. He studied Law at Athens University, and at the beginning of the ‘60s he moved to France where he followed courses in ethnography and studied film at the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Paris. Upon returning to Greece, he initially worked as a film critic and in 1970 he completed his first feature film Anaparastassi (Reconstruction).
His next three films make up a trilogy on the history of contemporary Greece: Meres tou ’36 (Days of ’36, 1972), O Thiassos (Travelling Players, 1975) and Oi Kynighoi (The Hunters, 1977), followeed by Megalexandros in 1980.
With these films some of the thematic and stylistic constants of Angelopoulos’ cinema were established – the weight of history, a clinical examination of power, a Brechtian theatricality, wherein the individual has no importance with respect to the group, a rejection of conventional narration in favour of an intentionally broken one, in which stationary cameras and sequence-length shots create an alternative sense of time.
Taxidi sta Kithira (Voyage to Cythera), in 1984, won the Cannes Festival International Critics’ Award for best screenplay, followed by O Melissokomos (The Beekeeper), in 1986, starring Marcello Mastroianni. With Topio stin Omichli (Landscape in the Mist) in 1988 he won the Silver Lion at the Venice Mostra. 
His filmography in the 90s included To meteoro vima tou pelargou (The Suspended Step of the Stork, 1991), followed by To vlemma toy Odyssea (Ulysses’ Gaze, 1995), starring Harvey Keitel – which won the Grand Jury Prize and the International Critics’ Prize at Cannes Festival. 
Then in 1998, he won the Cannes Palme D’Or prize for Mia eoniotita kai mia mera (Eternity and a Day) with Bruno Ganz. In 2003, he began another trilogy with To livadi pou dakryzi (The Wheeping Meadow) followed by H skoni tou chronou (Dust of Time, 2009). The film The Other Sea that he was currently shooting was to complete the trilogy.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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Poems on the Underground – Greek contemporary poetry

The Press Office of the Greek Embassy in Warsaw promotes the contemporary poetry of Greece and participates to   “Poems on the Underground” events (6-30 September 2010).
“Poems on the Underground” (Wiersze w Metrze) has been inspired by other similar projects  in many cities: Dublin, Paris, New York, Barcelona, Stockholm, Stuttgard and Moscow, organised for the first time in London in 1986.
Wiersze w Metrze promotes contemporary European poetry in public city spaces, through happenings, haiku competition, poetry city game and a performing poetry festival.
Many cultural institutes and embassies participate to the project, which takes place under the auspices of the the mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
Greek contemporary poetry will be represented by two acclaimed poets, Kiki Dimoula and Nasos Vagenas.
Kiki Dimoula has recently been awarded the European Literature Prize for 2010. Her poetry has been translated into English, French, German, Swedish, Danish, Spanish and many other languages.
Dimoula’s poetry is haunted by the existential dissolution of the post-world era. Her central themes are hopelessness, insecurity, absence and oblivion. Using diverse subjects and twisting grammar in unconventional ways, she accentuates the power of the words through astonishment and surprise, but always manages to retain a sense of hope.
Nasos Vagenas, professor of Theory and Critique of Literature in the Department of Theatre Studies of the University of Athens, in 2005 was awarded with the State Poetry Prize for his poetic collection ‘Stefanos’.
His poetic work includes the books: ‘Field of Mars’, ‘Biography’, ‘Roxani’s Knees’, ‘Wandering of a non-traveller’, ‘The Fall of the Flying’, ‘Barbarous Odes’ , ‘The Fall of the Flying B’, ‘Dark Ballads and Other Poems’, ‘Stefanos’.
His poetry has been translated into English, German, Italian, Dutch, Romanian, Serbian.
Two poems of Kiki Dimoula and Nasos Vagenas have been translated in polish language for “Wiersze w Metrze” by the professors and students of the Department of Greek Studies of the University of Warsaw (Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies “Artes Liberales”).

A farewell to philosopher Axelos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Philosopher Kostas Axelos died on February 4, at the age of 85 in Paris where he had been living since 1945.

Axelos was born in Athens in 1924 and, at the end of 1945, with the help of then director of the French Institute in Athens Octave Merlier, he boarded the legendary ship Mataroa to Paris along with 200 other young Greeks who were thus saved from the ravages of the impending civil war.
He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, and then taught there from 1962-1973. He was a columnist and later editor of the pioneering, at the time, magazine “Arguments” (1956-1962).
He also founded and, since 1960, directed, in tandem with “Arguments,” the philosophical series of the “Editions de Minuit,” which also published most of his own books.
Axelos wrote 24 books and a plethora of texts in French, Greek and German, which have been translated into 16 languages.
Axelos interview with Radical Philosophy (2005): Mondialisation without the world
Du côté de Desmos: www.desmos-grece.com  (in French)

Greece’s Press & Communication Offices Abroad

♦ Greece’s Ιmage Αbroad

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Wishing to promote Greece’s image abroad, Greece’s Press and Communication Offices Abroad often hold events which highlight the country’s cultural aspect. Be it an educative seminar, a music concert, or an artistic workshop, the idea behind the events is to bring foreign publics closer to the Hellenic spirit and contemporary lifestyle.

♦ Fashion-art in Paris

The collection “Blind Adam” is Thanos Kyriakides’ art project presented by the Parisian art gallery C LAGENCE and the Greek Embassy Press and Communication Office in Paris. Kyriakides used to work as a fashion editor, collaborating with many fashion magazines.  In 2002, he was diagnosed with a genetic disease provoking gradual loss of vision. His recent fashion work consists of clothes made from assembled wool knots. Inspired by the artwork of Cocteau, Giacometti, Pollock, Magritte, but also the Braille writing method, Kyriakides wishes to play with idea of “invisible clothes”, reflecting on blindness, the real world and spirituality.

♦ Book Presentation in London

Book presrentationLanguage and nationality in Greece, 1766-1976” is Peter Mackridge’s latest book published by the Oxford University Press. His book was presented during a ceremony at the Hellenic Centre by the Greek Embassy Press and Communication Office in London. Peter Mackridge is an Emeritus Professor of Modern Greek at Oxford University. He has taught modern Greek letters and culture since 1981 and during his academic career he published other three books, all on modern Greek language.  Naturally, the book presentation revolved around the Greek language question, a two-century dispute on whether the language of the Greek people or a cultivated imitation of ancient Greek should be the official language of the Greek nation. The question was resolved in 1976 with the prevalence of contemporary Greek.  Mackridge’s observation on the matter points to the 18th century, the time when a group of Greek scholars inspired by the Age of Enlightenment embarked on fortifying Greeks national identity by pushing for the adoption of a language closer to ancient Greek, because this would meant the symbolic bridging of the ancient and modern world.

Samothraki Island: A “Must” to Visit in Greece

(GREECE NEWS AGENDA)   The island of Samothraki in the North Aegean lies some 29 nautical miles southwest of the Thracian city of Alexandroupolis. Far from being a typical Greek island, it resembles a mountain surrounded by sea.  Its highest peak, Mount Fengari, rises to almost 1,700 metres. Samothraki is one of the truly virgin islands, where one can bathe in the shade of sycamore trees. Its singular mountain terrain, its abundance of crystal clear water, its archaeological finds along with an intangible mysticism that hovers in the air, offer the visitor an exotic holiday. To the north of the main town, Hora, is Paleopolis, the archaic and Hellenistic centre of the island, where there are still ruins of the Ancient City and the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. This is where the Cabeiri Rites took place, mystical ceremonies of equal importance to the Eleusinian, probably aiming to secure life after death. The island’s most famous artistic treasure is the 2.5 metre marble statue of Nike, now known as the Winged Victory of Samothrace, dating from about 190 BC. It was discovered in pieces on the island in 1863 and is now displayed in the Louvre museum in Paris.

October 28, Greece commemorates its Entry into World War II

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The Athens Municipality’s Melina Mercouri Cultural Centre (in Greek) is hosting an exhibition tribute to the Greek resistance at the Albanian front (winter of 1940-41) during WWII. Having fought at the war front, painter and draughtsman Alexandros Alexandrakis (1913-1968) found time to document the harsh life of soldiers up on the Pindos mountains.
The exhibition comprising 149 works will run until November 16. Melina Mercouri Foundation: www.melinamercourifoundation.org.gr
                                                                 Tributes to WWII
On October 28, Greece commemorates its entry into World War II. On that day in 1940, Italy invaded Greece through Albania. Several exhibitions pay tribute to the Greek resistance, such as the one of the Tribute to the Greek Resistance, 1940-1944 that is on display until November 30 at the Memorial Leclerc – Museum Jean Moulin in Paris. Foundation of the Hellenic World: Greece and the Second World War (1940-1945)

Greek PM: Growth Secured

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Attending the extraordinary summit of Euro zone leaders yesterday in Paris, called by EU’s French presidency, Karamanlis hailed the EU leaders’ decision to give full support over a coordinated response to the economic slowdown. Speaking to the press, Karamanlis reaffirmed Greece’s immediate response to the financial turmoil which managed to “exhibit reflexes that were much better than many other countries around the world.” Moreover, Karamanlis appeared reassuring, noting that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continues to foresee growth in Greece at 2%, when zero growth is projected for the rest of the Euro zone countries. At the World Bank Group and IMF’s annual meeting, Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis is expected to address the organisation’s plenary session. Alogoskoufis has already met during the weekend with World Bank officials as well as senior executives of international financial institutions. Athens News Agency: FinMin in Washington & PM satisfied with Eurozone summit European Commission: Economic & Monetary Union & Stability and Growth Pact; International Monetary Fund: IMF Welcomes Euro Zone Plan to Combat Crisis & World Economic Outlook, (October 2008); Ministry of Economy and Finance: The Greek Economy at a Glance (October 2008); Greek News Agenda: Bank of Greece: Banking System Safe