God Loves Caviar

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God Loves Caviar
God Loves Caviar.jpg
Film poster
Directed byYannis Smaragdis
Produced byEleni Smaragdi
Written byYannis Smaragdis
CinematographyAris Stavrou
Release date
  • 6 September 2012 (2012-09-06) (TIFF)
  • 11 October 2012 (2012-10-11) (Greece)
Running time
99 minutes

God Loves Caviar (Greek: Ο Θεός αγαπάει το χαβιάρι, translit. O Theós agapáei to chaviári; in Russia known as Pirates of the Aegean Sea) is a 2012 Russo-Greek drama film directed by Yannis Smaragdis.[1][2]


The film is based upon the true story of Ioannis Varvakis, a Greek caviar merchant and eventual benefactor from Psara who was formerly a pirate. He was born in Psara, and from an early age he learned to navigate the seas, an occupation revered and steeped in tradition on the island where he grew up. At the age of 17 he built his own ship, which he would later offer to the Russians during the Orlov Revolt. Ultimately, his ship was destroyed, and he turned to Saint Petersburg to ask for an audience with Catherine the Great. He was given compensation for the loss of his ship and granted authorization to fish freely in the Caspian Sea. Due to his superb navigational skills and excellent seamanship abilities, he dominated the Caspian Sea and soon became substantially wealthy. When he initially discovered the superior caviar of the Beluga Sturgeon, he quickly discerned that there could be an incredible market trading for this product. From the caviar trade he eventually became a millionaire and later donated part of his fortune for important works that improved the life of Russians and Greeks on the Black Sea coasts. In his later years, he became a member of the Filiki Eteria, which would contribute to the overthrow of the Ottoman rule of Greece. He died in 1825 in Zante, during the Greek War of Independence. After his death, his entire estate went to the Ioannis Varvakis Foundation which would offer up important grants throughout Greece. The script follows the entire life of Varvakis, but the film's narration begins with his final moments in Zante.[3][4]



The film was one of the official selections that debuted in 2012 Toronto Film Festival.[5] In 2013 the film was the highest-grossing film in Greece.[6]


  1. ^ "God Loves Caviar". TIFF. Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  2. ^ "N.Y.Times Review of God Loves Caviar". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  3. ^ "God Loves Caviar" by Iannis Smaragdis / Toronto 2012 review". flix.gr. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Ο Βαρβάκης". godlovescaviar.gr. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Παγκόσμια Πρεμιέρα της ταινίας "Ο Θεός αγαπάει το Χαβιάρι" στο Διεθνές Φεστιβάλ Κινηματογράφου του Τορόντο". godlovescaviar.gr. Archived from the original on 2 January 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  6. ^ "God Loves Caviar serves up a hero in Greece's hour of need". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2 January 2015.

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