Cinema of Greece
|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (January 2012)|
Greece has a long and rich cinematic history. Greek films dominate the domestic market, for example Safe Sex had more box office receipts than Titanic. Characteristics of Greek cinema include a dynamic plot, strong character development and erotic themes. Greek cinema has produced the first nude scene in European cinema in 1931, notable dramas (film noirs) and comedies during the next decades and erotic comedies in the 1990s and 2000s.
History of the Greek cinema 
In the spring of 1897, the Greeks of Athens watched the first cinematic ventures (short movies in "journal"). In 1906 Greek Cinema was born when Manakis brothers started recording in Macedonia, and the French filmmaker Leons produced the first "Newscast" from the midi-Olympic games of Athens (the unofficial Olympic games of 1906).
The first cine-theater of Athens opened about a year later and other special 'projection rooms' begun their activity. In 1910-11 the first short comic movies were produced by director Spiros Dimitrakopoulos, who also starred in most of his movies. In 1911 Kostas Bachatoris presented Golfo (Γκόλφω), a well known traditional love story, considered the first Greek feature film. In 1912 was founded the first film company (Athina Film) and in 1916 the Asty Film.
During the First World War, production was limited to documentaries and newscasts only. Directors like George Prokopiou and Dimitris Gaziadis are distinguished for filming scenes from the battlefield and later during the Greco-Turkish war the burning of Smyrna (1922).
The first commercial success came in 1920 with Villar in the women's baths of Faliro (Ο Βιλλάρ στα γυναικεία λουτρά του Φαλήρου), written, directed by and starring comedian Villar (Nikolaos Sfakianakis) and Nitsa Philosofou. In 1924 Michael Michael son of Michael (!), a Greek comedian, presented some short film comedies.
In 1926 Dimitris Gaziadis founded Dag Films and tried to produce the first speaking movies. In 1927 presented its first movie Eros kai kymata. During 1928–1931 Dag Films was successful. The company mainly produced historical movies, usually adaptations of novels. In 1930 produced another speaking movie: Oi Apahides ton Athinon (a version of a Greek operetta by Nikos Hatziapostolou). Dimitris Gaziadis in 1927 also filmed the Delphic Festival: an idea of Angelos Sikelianos, with the support of his wife, as part of his general effort towards the revival of the "Delphic Idea". The event consisted of Olympic contests, an exhibition of folk art as well as a performance of Prometheus Bound.
In 1931 Astra Film with Orestis Laskos presented Daphnis and Chloe (Δάφνις και Χλόη), contained the first nude scene in the history of European cinema; it was also the first Greek movie which was played abroad. In 1932 Olympia Films presented the movie O agapitikos tis voskopoulas (Ο αγαπητικός της βοσκοπούλας).
Philopemen Finos appeared actively in the production, and was a co-founder of Greek Cinematic Studios (1939). During World War II, Finos founded Finos Films (1942), a company that sealed the fate of commercial Greek cinema. During 1940-44, the most prominent films were: Voice of Heart (Η φωνή της καρδιάς) (1943, directed by Dimitris Ioannopoulos) and Applause (Χειροκροτήματα) (1944, directed by George Tzavellas).
The Golden Age 
The 1950s and 1960s are considered by many as the Greek Golden age. Directors and actors of this era were recognized as important historical figures in Greece and some gained international acclaim: Mihalis Kakogiannis, Alekos Sakellarios, Melina Mercouri, Nikos Tsiforos, Iakovos Kambanelis, Katina Paxinou, Nikos Koundouros, Ellie Lambeti, Irene Papas etc. More than sixty films per year were made, with the majority having film noir elements. Notable films were Η κάλπικη λίρα (The Counterfeit Coin, 1955 directed by George Tzavellas), Πικρό Ψωμί (1951, directed by Grigoris Grigoriou), Δράκος (O Drakos, 1956, directed by Nikos Koundouros), Stella (1955, directed by Michael Cacoyannis and written by Iakovos Kambanelis).
Cacoyannis also directed Zorba the Greek with Anthony Quinn which received Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film nominations. Finos Film contributed to this period with movies such as Λατέρνα, Φτώχεια και Φιλότιμο, Η Θεία από το Σικάγο (I theia ap' to Chicago), Το ξύλο βγήκε από τον Παράδεισο and many more.
Melina Mercouri became also well-known to international audiences when she starred in the 1960 film Never on Sunday, directed by Jules Dassin. (The couple collaborated on its 1967 musical stage adaptation, Illya Darling, for which she received a Tony Award nomination, as well.) Nominated for an Academy Award for Never on Sunday, she went on to star in such films as Topkapi, Phaedra and Gaily, Gaily.
Modern period 
During the 1970s and 1980s Theo Angelopoulos directed a series of notable and appreciated movies. His film Eternity and a Day won the Palme d'Or and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
In 1999, TV series writers Michalis Reppas and Thanasis Papathanasiou, collaborating with contemporary famous actors made the sex taboo comedy Safe Sex, which was the most successful movie of the decade.
In 2003 another big-budget Greek film named Politiki kouzina (A Touch of Spice), by director Tasos Boulmetis, was the most successful film of the year at the Greek box office, making over 12 million euros. 2004 was also a good year for Greek films with Nyfes gathering more than a million spectators and over 7 million in box office. In 2007 the most successful film was El Greco (2007 film), directed by Yannis Smaragdis.
In 2009 Dogtooth by Yorgos Lanthimos won the Prix Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival and in 2011 was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. In 2010 Attenberg won the Coppa Volpi Award for Best Actress (Ariane Labed) at the Venice Film Festival. In 2011 Alps won the Osella Award for Best Screenplay (Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimiοs Filippou) at the 68th Venice Film Festival. In 2011, just twenty feature-films were produced.
Notable Greek movies 
- 1927 Eros kai kymata, Dimitris Gaziadis
- 1929 Astero, Dimitris Gaziadis
- 1929 Maria Pentagiotissa, Ahilleas Madras
- 1930 Oi Apahides ton Athinon, Dimitris Gaziadis
- 1931 Daphnis and Chloe, Orestis Laskos
- 1944 Hirokrotimata, George Tzavellas
- 1948 The Germans Strike Again, Alekos Sakellarios, starring Vassilis Logothetidis
- 1950 Ο methistakas (The Drunkard), George Tzavellas, starring Orestis Makris
- 1951 Pikro Psomi, Grigoris Grigoriou
- 1955 Stella, Michael Cacoyannis, starring Melina Mercouri
- 1955 Laterna, Ftoheia kai Garyfallo, Alekos Sakelarios
- 1955 The Counterfeit Coin, George Tzavellas
- 1956 O Drakos, Nikos Koundouros, starring Dinos Iliopoulos
- 1956 A Girl in Black, Michael Cacoyannis, starring Ellie Lambeti
- 1956 The Girl from Corfu, Yiannis Petropoulakis, starring Rena Vlachopoulou
- 1957 I theia ap' to Chicago, Alekos Sakellarios
- 1959 Stournara 288, Dinos Dimopoulos
- 1960 Madalena, Dinos Dimopoulos, starring Aliki Vougiouklaki
- 1960 Never on Sunday, Jules Dassin
- 1960 Egklima sta paraskinia, Dinos Katsouridis
- 1961 Antigone, George Tzavellas
- 1961 Alimono stous neous (Woe to the Young), Alekos Sakellarios, starring Dimitris Horn
- 1961 The Downhill, Giannis Dalianidis
- 1962 Electra, Michael Cacoyannis
- 1963 Young Aphrodites, Nikos Koundouros
- 1963 The Red Lanterns, Vasilis Georgiadis
- 1964 Zorba the Greek (film), Michael Cacoyannis
- 1965 I de gyni na fovitai ton andra, George Tzavellas
- 1966 Blood on the Land, Vasilis Georgiadis
- 1967 Chicho Castillo, Dinos Dimopoulos
- 1970 Ipolochagos Natassa, Nikos Foscolos
- 1971 Evdokia, Alexis Damianos
- 1972 To proxenio tis Annas, Pantelis Voulgaris
- 1975 The Travelling Players, Theo Angelopoulos
- 1976 Your Neighbor's Son, starring Michalis Petrou
- 1977 Ifigeneia, Michael Kakogiannis
- 1978 The Idlers of Fertile Valley, Nikos Panayiotopoulos
- 1983 Rembetiko, Costas Ferris
- 1983 Glykia Symmoria, Nikos Nikolaidis
- 1985 Stone Years, Pantelis Voulgaris
- 1991 The Suspended Step of the Stork, Theo Angelopoulos, starring Marcello Mastroianni
- 1995 Ulysses' Gaze, Theo Angelopoulos
- 1998 Eternity and a Day, Theo Angelopoulos
- 1998 Safe Sex, Michalis Reppas - Thanassis Papathanasiou
- 1999 I earini synaxi ton agrofylakon, Dimos Avdeliodis
- 2001 Afti i Nyxta Menei, Nikos Panayiotopoulos
- 2003 A Touch of Spice, Tasos Boulmetis
- 2004 Brides, Pantelis Voulgaris
- 2007 El Greco, Yannis Smaragdis
- 2009 Dogtooth, Yorgos Lanthimos
- 2010 Attenberg, Athina Rachel Tsangari
- 2011 Alps, Yorgos Lanthimos
Notable Musicals 
- 1963 Merikoi to protimoun kryo (Some Like it Cold), Giannis Dalianidis
- 1965 Kiss the Girls (1965 film), Giannis Dalianidis
- 1967 Oi Thalassies oi Hadres, Giannis Dalianidis
Filming, distribution companies and studios 
- Athina Film
- Asty Films
- Dag Films
- Astra Film
- Hero Films (Greek: Ἡρώ)
- Acropolis Films
- Olympia Films
- Parthenon Film
- Klak Film
- Martha Films
- Milas Film
- Finos Films (operates its own studios), founded by the major figure of Philopemen Finos
- Karagiannis Karatzopoulos
- Novak Films (operates own studios)
- Madbox Entertainment (operates its own studios)
- Village Films Hellas (Greek branch of Village Roadshow)
- Odeon Hellas
- Make a Movie in Greece - Media Productions
- CL productions
- Audiovisual (biggest distributor)
- Karamanos Studios (biggest studios in Greece)
Renowned figures 
- Nikos Tsiforos
- Iakovos Kambanelis
- Alekos Sakellarios
- Dimitris Psathas
- Mimis Traiforos
- Thanos Leivaditis
- Christos Giannakopoulos
- Petros Markaris
- Nikos Foskolos
- Giorgos Oikonomidis
Directors of Photography 
Film score composers 
- Michalis Souyioul
- Manos Hatzidakis
- Kostas Kapnisis
- Giorgos Mouzakis
- Kostas Giannidis
- Takis Morakis
- Mikis Theodorakis
- Giorgos Katsaros
- Mimis Plessas
- Manos Loïzos
- Yannis Markopoulos
- Stavros Xarchakos
- Loukianos Kelaidonis
- Eleni Karaindrou
- Vangelis Papathanassiou
- Stamatis Spanoudakis
- Dimitris Koliodimos, The Greek filmography, 1914 through 1996, Jefferson, N.C. [u.a.] : McFarland, 1999, 773p.
- Journal of Modern Greek Studies 18.1, May 2000, Special Issue: Greek Film
- Vrasidas Karalis, A History of Greek Cinema, Continuum, 2012
See also 
- Cinema of the world
- World cinema
- European cinema
- List of Greek films
- List of Greek actors
- Thessaloniki International Film Festival
- Theatre of ancient Greece
- Cinema of Cyprus
- Culture of Greece
- Vrasidas Karalis, A History of Greek Cinema, Continuum, 2012
- "83rd Academy Awards Nominations Announced". oscars.org. 2011-01-25. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- Smith, Ian Hayden (2012). International Film Guide 2012. p. 127. ISBN 978-1908215017.
- Alekos Sakellarios talks about the first movies of Greek cinema at YouTube
- Daphnis et Chloe (1931) at YouTube
- Hirokrotimata (1944) at YouTube
- The Drunkard (1950) at YouTube
- The Counterfeit Coin (1955) at YouTube
- I theia ap' to Chicago (1957) at YouTube
- Woe to the Young (1961) at YouTube
- Madbox Entertainment - Film production company and studios and postproduction
- myFILM.gr - Entertainment news and movie reviews (Greek)
- Modern Hellenic (Greek) film (cinema), theater and film directors, Actors
- Database of Greek films
- Greek movies, tv series and shows database.
- Extensive history of cinema in Greece.
- Make a Movie in Greece - media productions in Greece
- Various movie theatres in Greece