The third edition of the Greek Film Festival comes to a variety of venues in Dublin this October. Promoting Greek culture through a variety of films and events and showing the links between Greece and our own nation, the festival is a celebration of Greek cinema and Greek culture. One of many varied festivals in the fair city of film that brings international cinema to Irish eyes.
The Greek Film Festival will be taking place this year from Thursday 19 October to Sunday 22 October. Spread out across the city, the festival will be screening films at the Sugar Club, Filmbase in Temple Bar and the Chester Beatty Library over the four days, with fictional dramas and documentaries both short and feature length being shown.
Beginning the festival on Thursday 19 October, 6pm is Xamou, which will be shown at the Chester Beatty Library. Released in Greece last year, the film puts Greece’s economic crisis in perspective through the experiences of Yannis, nicknamed Johnny, once the suavely elegant manager of Cretan 4-star hotels, now newly unemployed. Johnny still wakes early every morning, shaves and dresses impeccably, but retreats to his cave-like office where he researches job possibilities on the computer while trying to resist the lure of online gambling. When his beautiful wife finally pulls him out of his cave, Johnny begins an odyssey around the vibrant island and in the process, discovers a new way of life by promoting the traditional goods and services of his neighbours.
Also showing during the festival is the documentary The Longest Run. This film will be shown at Filmbase, Friday October 20, 6pm and tickets are still available here. Jasim and Alsaleh are underage refugees in a Greek prison. Coming from Syria and Iraq, they were arrested and accused of smuggling illegal immigrants.
With unique access in the juvenile prison and court room, the film follows the two friends closely while in custody, during the trial and after the verdict, through a narrative of suspense which reveals how youngsters are forced to transport migrants across the border to Greece while the smugglers stay behind and continue their job uninterrupted.
If Jasim and Alsaleh are found guilty, they will face extremely long prison sentences. Phone conversations between the imprisoned young boys and their mothers at their war-stricken countries accentuate the double enclosure that these families experience. No one knows how and when their long run will end.
Later that evening at Filmbase, 8pm will see a screening of the drama Boy on the Bridge, set in Cyprus in 1988. Twelve-year-old Socrates spends the hot summer days hurtling through the streets of his sleepy mountain village on his bicycle, setting off home-made firecrackers and tormenting the local residents. He wears his grandfather’s military beret with pride, dreaming of being a war hero like he once was. His carefree life comes to an abrupt end when he finds out that the family of his cousin and best friend, Marcos, are being abused by their violent father Hambo. Infuriated by this discovery, Socrates decides to put his firecracker-making skills to use.
What starts as a naïve attempt to teach Hambo a lesson leads Socrates to the heart of a murder investigation and the exposure of a family secret. Confronted with a dilemma that will change his life forever, Socrates discovers the meaning of love, family loyalty and courage. Tickets available now here.
On Saturday October 21, Filmbase will also show the Greek short documentary True Blue. At a country that collapses (Greece), an older Greek – American couple, Girly & Stamatis, is enjoying life at the Greek island of Ikaria, a place known for the reason that its people “forget to die”. But the sudden death of a neighbour, reminds them that the end is closer. This screening is free but does require advance booking to be sure of a place, which can be done here.
Also showing that Saturday at the same venue is the documentary Next Stop: Utopia. When a Greek factory goes bankrupt, the workers occupy it and attempt to run it on their own. Self-management proves no easy task; soon they discover that they first need to change themselves. Tickets for this film available here.
Finally at Filmbase that Saturday at 8pm is the film Suntan. The film focuses around Kostis, a 42-year-old doctor that finds himself in the small island of Antiparos, in order to take over the local clinic. His whole life and routine will turn upside down when he meets an international group of young and beautiful tourists and he falls in love with Anna, a 19-year-old goddess. Tickets here.
Things are a little different on the Sunday at the Sugar Club, as live music follows the film screening to present Greek art in two forms. First there’s the film, Amerika Square. An unemployed, disgruntled Greek nationalist in Athens has his world turned upside-down when his apartment building and beloved city park become a home and resting stop for migrants in transit across Europe. There, refugees searching for a new life must navigate the seedier elements of Greek society to survive. Mixing a kinetic visual style with ripped-from-the-headlines storytelling, Amerika Square is an unflinching look at the mass migration economy—where ‘borders are business’. That’s followed by the music of two pioneers of reinvented folk, Kristi Stassinopoulou and Stahis Kalyviotis, who remix traditional demotika songs to reflect their own experiences of urban life in Greece. A previous release by the acclaimed duo topped the World Music Chart for five months, and they are coming to Ireland for the first time to shake up the Dublin music scene with Greekadelia. Tickets here.
In addition to screenings and the music event the Festival will host a photographic exhibition by a Dublin-based Greek photographer Kostantinos Epoimenidis (Wednesday 18 October-Saturday 21 October at Filmbase). The exhibition is titled The Fractal Nature of Pure Imagination and serves as a window into the mind of a Greek artist. Speaking about the exhibition, Kostantinos said:
What has always fascinated me in photography is the exploration of ideas and concepts that may reveal the beauty and mystery of ourselves and nature. This body of work is inspired by Greek myth and my own imagination and draws from such ideas as personification, the fractal nature of the world, the Fibonacci sequence in nature, the aliveness and inter-connectedness of life, and the dynamic balance between order and chaos.
More specifically, through close photographic observation recognisable or provoking patterns and traces may show up in images to surprise, inspire and make us wonder…
My intent, in this work, is to express the beauty, diversity and mystery of the land and sea of Greece, while creating contemplative and meditative open-ended images, that trigger our collective memory and ignite new perspectives on nature and ourselves beyond the known.