Sunday, 20 August 2017

A Doc Fest to Warm up Thessaloniki, Greece, This Weekend   
10 March 2014 | The new, 16th edition of the lively documentary festival of Thessaloniki, starts later this week. To break last year’s record, it needs to attract over 45 000 viewers – a realistic task, considering the event’s growing popularity amongst neighboring countries, and their rapidly developing film industries. The regime of the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot, life at the Parisian Gare du Nord, the story of the Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the outside-the-boxing-ring fights of Muhammad Ali, activists’ daily life at the city of Homs, Syria – the international highlights of this year edition promise memorable experiences.

The Greek films in the program are 59 – a good number to remind of the origin of the festival in the 60s as the Week of Greek Cinema. Understandably, one of the titles, which seem to attract the most attention, is The Godmother – a production of Stellios Kouloglou, which tells the story of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Another hot political topic, which will be seen on the big screen, are the events, surrounding the closure of ERT, Greece’s public broadcaster, in June 2013.

One of the most promising film productions seems to be Kismet (Luck) of Nina Maria Paschalidou (on the pictures). Her film, which is a joint production of several European production companies, follows a curious phenomenon. It highlights the ways in which Turkish soap operas become an inspiration for women in the Balkans and in Arabic countries to raise their voice against injustice and claim more freedom.

"Turkish soap operas are incredibly popular - and not just in Turkey. Throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans and Asia, millions of viewers are glued to every episode of series such as Noor, Fatmagul, Suleiman and Life Goes On. The Turkish cities used as locations have become tourist attractions, and huge numbers of parents name their children after the main characters. Kismet seeks out the secrets behind the soaps, which while breaking taboos also count many strict Christians and Muslims among their loyal audience. The film alternates interviews with the stars, directors, and scriptwriters with analyses by sociologists and portraits of faithful fans - most of them female - from Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Athens, Mostar, Sofia and Istanbul. The soaps transcend cultural and religious boundaries, and their devotees see them as much more than a temporary escape from their often-dismal social reality. They may swoon at the hotly debated romantic intrigues, but they are also emboldened by the female characters, all of whom are strong, independent fighters. Alongside illustrative scenes from the series, the documentary brings us the personal stories of women who followed in the footsteps of their heroines to fight for their rights, and to ultimately break free of oppressed lives".




Mount Athos Area KOUZINA 2014

The most famous Greek culinary event!
With the signature of the famous Greek chef Dina Nikolaou

Mount Athos Area Kouzina is a month long annual food festival which takes place from the 15th of May till the 15th of June, attracting foodies from all over the world.
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Curiosity Chest

Greece and Albania: In the Kingdom of Ali Pasha

While travelling through the Balkans, Morelle Smith gets to know the infamous Ali Pasha, the “Lion of Ioannina.” First through the eyes of nineteenth-century writer Dora d'Istria and then through the impressive architectural heritage he left in Albania and Northern Greece. And she falls for his charms. And how could she not, knowing how fiercely Ali Pasha treated the women who turned him down? Full Story

Useful Reads

In Sfakia: Passing Time in the Wilds of Crete (2008) | By Peter Trudgill

Crete has long been acknowledged as one of the most singular and unique parts of Greece. Its people keep a fierce hold on their traditions, customs and history. Practically a country of its own, this vast island looms over all others in Greece. Nevertheless, as In Sfakia author Peter Trudgill aptly notes in his preface, “some parts of Crete are more special than others, and Sfakia, on the remote south coast, is certainly one of those.” Full Story


Unbearable Nostalgia, After Theo Angelopoulos

Eleni Karaindrou | Elegy of the Uprooting |Crammed/Dyukyan Meloman, 2006
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