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44th THESSALONIKI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
21 Nov 2003
The Official Programme of theThessaloniki International Film Festival presents the work of film directors from around the world in order to contribute to their promotion in the Greek market. In this context, the selection of the films is always a difficult and time-consuming procedure that is usually ends up to organizing a diverse and most interesting compilation of movies.
Thus, the Official Programme of the 44th Thessaloniki International Film Festival stands out for its element of the unorthodoxe. It focuses mainly on the images of reality conceived by young people and touches issues of communication in the modern times by emphasizing on the female role (seven out of the fourteen films of the IC tell stories of women, while four of them are directed by women as well).
For more information click here.
38th Dimitria Festival - Arts, history and culture in Thessaloniki
Sep - Oct 2004
Over 80 events constitute the landscape of this year's Dimitria Festival, an art feast that returns in Thessaloniki every year, for the last 38 years and which aspires to offer to residents, as well as, to visitors, a number of unique culture experiences.
This year's festival is organised in the following 12 cycles of events:
Premium Art Events
Symphonic Music Cycle
1st Chamber Music Festival
International Month of Orthodox Choirs
Greek Tradition Cycle
Ethno Jazz Festival
Young Artists Recitals
VII╔ International Dance Festival
Visual Arts Cycle
Various Events Cycle
About the Festival
Dimitria Festival has a history older than one can know or imagine. The splendid Byzantine feast of Thessaloniki's Golden Age (14c. AD) came back to stay in October 1966. Its name back then was New Festival. Along with it, the city got to live a period full of exciting art moments. Top personalities of the arts made their appearence though all these years and placed Dimitria Festival to the level it belongs.
Besides, starting from 1995 the Festival is listed among all the important European art events, by entering the European Festivals Association. This way it got the glamour and respect it deserved throughout Europe.
Year after year, Dimitria Festival becomes richer, as far as its programme is concerned. This year, while it runs through its 38th year, awaits for you all, in order to take you to diverse art routes. Won't you follow?
CULTURAL OLYMPIAD - Cinemythology: Greek Myths in International Cinema
31 Oct 2003 - 13 Nov 2003
A huge undertaking that derives from the ambition to become a cornerstone of the cinema events organized by Greece in the country and abroad. Cinemythology, this multifarious retrospective tribute with 44 films from the whole spectrum of world cinema that refer to ancient Greek myths, spreads to six cities in Greece (Athens, Piraeus, Patras, Thessaloniki, Volos, Heraklion) and three abroad (Berlin, Madrid, London), from October 17, 2003 to March 7, 2004. The whole projects bears the signature of Cultural Olympiad and Thessaloniki's International Film Festival.
The International Film Festival of Thessaloniki that was commissioned by the Hellenic Culture Organization SA administers the tribute. The films included in Cinemythology touch ancient Greek myths, either in their tragedy-inspired screenplays, or with their liberal adaptations in modern times, or because they use and deal with Greek mythological archetypes.
This cinematographic retrospective features 44 films, 15 out of which are Greek productions. It is accompanied by a number of parallel events, like screenings of archived films of ancient drama performances -based on modern attempts to adapt ancient myths for the theater stage- screenings of videodance films, a photography exhibition and a dance performance.
The presentation of the program starts from Athens (October 17-30, 2003), continues in Thessaloniki (October 30 - November 13, 2003), while at the same time it is being presented in Piraeus (October 17-23, 2003) and the three Olympic Greek cities of Volos (October 31-November 6, 2003), Patras (October 24-30, 2003) and Heraklion (═ovember 14-20, 2003).
Following, the tribute is being presented as a Cultural Olympiad event in three European capital cities: Berlin (November 7-16, 2003), Madrid (February 16-22, 2004) and London (February 27-March 7, 2004), in cooperation with the Foundation foe Hellenic Culture and some Film Archives that are based in these cities.
The concept of Cinemythology
Greek myths, starting from their ancient Mediterranean matrix, survived through history up until our times and became ecumenical, influencing drastically our arts and culture. Greek mythology is today one of the strongest bridges between the spiritual antiquity and the modern world, since it created a durable semantic code and imposed the creation of common ways of expression in different peoples and cultures through all kinds of art.
This richness of films that use myth not only as a base for their scripts, but also as a motive for personal interpretations, was the spark for the realization of Cinemythology. Within the context of the Cultural Olympiad, the tribute aspires to bring up the most valuable elements that our audiovisual culture collected from the Greek spirit and make them accessible to as many people -in Greece and abroad- as possible.
A photography workshop organised by the Photography Center of Thessaloniki
01 Mar 2004
Once upon a time, long before the introduction of digital technology in the art of photography, photographers could create magical environments using manual techniques. Photoshop came to make the photographer's life easier, or at least this is the most common belief. In any case, traditional tecniques are valuable and should be preserved. In this context, a creative workshop is organised by the Photography Center of Thessaloniki that aims at introducing the participants to the procedure used to change the colour of the black and white image with toners.
Toning is used for two purposes, first and most obviously for aesthetic effect in changing the colour, but also some toners make the image more stable. The outcome is coloured photographic images.
After normal processing, prints are thoroughly washed before immersing in the toner for a few minutes. They change colour slowly and the photographer decides when it is the appropriate time to remove them, depending on the desired effect.
Using paint brushes or sponges, the photographer can event paint the photographic image and thus create a unique work of art. Toning technique relates photography with painting.
In the context of the workshop organised by the Photography Center of Thessaloniki in collaboration with Kapafot photography stores, participants get acquainted with all toning tecnhiques under the guidance of Vassilis Karkatselis.
During the sessions participants practise using their own photographic works. The closing date inaugurates an exhibition displaying the photographic works created during the workshop.
Autodafe: Thessaloniki City of Asylum
An initiative of Cultural Olympiad 2001-2004 with the cooperation of the International Parliament of Writers (IPW), bears fruits and Thessaloniki officially becomes a member of the international Network of Cities of Asylum. In this context, the city hosts a number of cultural events, mostly on literature and poetry, that will be taking place in different venues of the city and the surroundings.
The events will be unfolding throughout a whole year, from September 2002 to September 2003.
Since its creation in 1994, the International Parliament of Writers (IPW) has set up a network of Cities, which would host writers and artists persecuted in their countries. Today, the Cities of Asylum Network includes about thirteen cities and Regions all around the world.
Its program has enabled the IPW to host authors from Afghanistan, Algeria, Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Vietnam... The writer hosted in a City of Asylum is considered to be an ambassador of his own language and culture. He is a symbol of an open and multicultural citizenship, an active witness of the dialogue between cultures.
The Charter of Cities of Asylum, adopted by the Council of Europe on 31 May 1995, and approved by the European Parliament in its resolution of 21 September 1995, constitutes the legal and institutional framework in which the terms for providing asylum to the writers in the Network of Cities of Asylum are specified.
According to the agreement established by the Charter, the Cities members of the Network undertake to host during one to two years an author proposed by the IPW; an appartment and a monthly grant are provided to the authors in residence.
These conditions enable the writers in residence, not only to resume their artistic activities in normal life and work conditions, to participate in the cultural life of the host City, but also to consider serenely a lasting solution to their situation.
What is Autodafe?
The word "Autodafe" came up in 1743 out of the Portuguese phrase "auto da fe," which means "act of faith." The phrase was widely used in the time of the Inquisition and meant the procedure during which heretics, condemned to die in fire, were called to make an act of faith so that they would buy back their lost souls in the underworld. In general, it means an act of doom in fire.
With time, the word acquired the meaning of "prosecution and disaster." It was also used in 1933 in Germany, when the nazis put fire to the Reichstag and burnt "disturbing" books.
After the foundation of the Cities of Asylum Network, IPW created two new tools for spreading its message: an international journal published simultaneously in eight different languages and an Internet site.
Autodafe, today, is a multilingual and multimedia platform featuring translations with the goal of disseminating censored literary works through which it will give a voice to those people and their experiences which have been silenced, to cultures which are fading and to languages that are in danger of disappearing. In Greece the journal is published by Agra Publications.
Opera Gala in memory of Maria Callas in Thessaloniki
Eighty years have passed since the birth of the great diva Maria Callas. A lieder evening-tribute to the artist whose memory has not only remained unchanged over time, but has become even stronger, and serves many opera singers as the standard by which they judge themselves, is organised -as every year- at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall on September 16. It's the same date Callas passed away 26 years ago.
The world famous soprano VesselinaKasarova interprets arias by the greatest representatives of Italian opera (Puccini, Bizet, Cilea, Massenet, Rossini) in an effort to spread at an extremely difficult repertoire that just a few artists -- among them Maria Callas -- dared to interpret during their career. Interpreting such a repertoire requires special vocal capabilities (for example large ectasis of the voice), thanks to which Callas earned a place at lyric theatre house of Fame.
Tenor Emil Ivanov and the Thessaloniki State Orchestra, concucted by Nikos Athinaios, also participate in the tribute.
The tribute to Callas includes the following works:
-- Il Barbiere di Seviglia ˘´§ Gioacchino Rossini
-- L' Arlesiana by Francesco Cilea
-- Werther by Jules Massenet
-- Suor Angelica and Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
-- Carmen by Georges Bizet
A few words about Maria Callas
Callas. One of the greatest and most versatile operatic singers in recent history. She sang an incredible variety of roles; from Wagnerian to light coloratura; from high soprano to mezzo. But it is not just the range of roles she was capable of singing, but how she sang them that makes her special.
Maria Callas had a distinctive vocal timbre which she could colour in a seemingly infinite number of manners. She could also act, a rarity with opera singers still today. She was a joy to listen to and watch. True her voice was flawed, but her artistry was unmatched.
Maria Meneghini Callas was born Sophie Cecelia Kalogeropoulou (Kalos) (or Maria Anna Cecilia Sophia Kalogeropoulos) on 2 December, 1923 in New York. She left the United States in 1937 to move to Greece.
There she studied at the Athens Conservatory. She made her professional operatic debut in a major role, Tosca, at the Athens Opera in 1941. She married Giovanni Battista Meneghini in 1949, and he guided her career until their separation in 1959.
She went on to triumphant performances at all of the major opera houses. Her last operatic appearance was in 1965 at Covent Garden, again as Tosca. She gave a number of master classes in 1971-72. In the following two years, she toured with Giuseppe di Stefano in recitals of arias with piano accompaniment. She died in 1977 in Paris.
The Barber of Seville in Thessaloniki
A most inspired collaboration this theatre season brings actrice Carmen Ruggeri in Thessaloniki and "The Barber of Seville" to the Sofoulis Theatre. The music performance that was being prepared for months in Athens with much enthusiasm, is now ready to spread its magic to young and older music theatre lovers in the city of Thessaloniki.
Of Rossini's three dozen or so operas, The Barber of Seville is probably the best known, a treatment of the first play of the Figaro trilogy by Beaumarchais on which Mozart had drawn thirty years before in Vienna.
The Barber of Seville seems to be the ultimate opera of reaction: Romanticism's reaction to the Enlightenment. Like other Romantic characters in opera and literature, Rossini's characters -absurd stereotypes- leave their fates to circumstance, coincidence, and trickery.
In this opera Rossini takes nothing seriously: God, society, love and even music. He thumbs his nose at his more serious contemporaries such as Beethoven and Schubert. While Mozart celebrated the richness of the human experience, Rossini wanted his audiences to have a good time, not to think too hard about what they saw on stage.
The play is directed and adapted by Carmen Ruggeri herself, set and stage design is Christina Kouloumbi's, music adaptations by Yannis Makridis, lyrics written by Andreas Kouloumbis.
Choreographies by Petros Gallias and lightings by Anestis Ataktidis. Assistant directior is Katia Paschou.
Music for Theatre and Cinema by Mikis Theodorakis in Thessaloniki
07/06 - 08/06/2004
Music encounters speech and images in a grand production by the popular Orchestra Mikis Theodorakis. Music for theatre and cinema by the great Greek composer, Theodorakis, is performed at the Theatre of the Earth in Thessaloniki, by a constellation of artists, such as the famous folk singer Antonis Remos, and the actors/actresses Natassa Manisali, Petros Filippidis, and Yiannis Samsiaris.
The spectacular event bears the signatures of the director Stelios Goutis and the actress Kakia Igerinou who wrote the texts. Screenings of theatre performances and films revive on stage the excellence of Theodorakis' music.
The works are interpreted by the prominent folk Orchestra Mikis Theodorakis, founded in May 1997, by musicians who had played together with the distinguished composer, and knew his work well.
The music for the Theatre, comes from The song of the dead brother, A Hostage, Enemy people, Betrayed people, and many other plays.
The music for cinema was composed for Honeymoon, Les amants de Teruel, The Barefoot Batalio, Zorba the Greek, Serpico, Iphigeneia, Electra, Phaedra, State of Siege, Actas de Marusia, I'll meet the moonlight, and many other films.
Mikis Theodorakis of Cretan descent was born in Chios Greece, 29 July 1925. He lived in many cities in Greece before setting in Athens, where he now lives.
From 1954 to 1960 he worked in Paris and London composing symphonic music, ballet and film music. In 1960 he places himself as leader of the regenerative cultural-political movement in Greece centered on the union of poetry and music, composing dozens of song-cycles, oratorios, revues, music for the ancient Greek drama and other.
This movement was connected with the progressive political forces of that period, which aimed, beyond the establishment of democratic life in Greece, to a much deeper and broader rebirth of the Greek people. This brings him often at the center of political life, climaxing with his active participation in the resistance movement against the military dictatorship (1967-74).
Theodorakis wrote for all musical forms. His work, rich and versatile, transcends the limits of music and covers areas such as poetry, prose, philosophy, musicology, even political essays. The first period of his musical creation (1940-53) includes songs, oratorios, chamber music, ballets and symphonic works, the First Sympony being his most significant work.
The second period, the Paris period (1954-59), includes chamber music, ballets and symphonic works, the major work being the ballet Antigone commissioned by Covent Garden in 1959. The third period, 1960-1980, is devoted to the popular music. Outstanding works produced are the oratorios Axion Esti and Canto General. There follows the fourth period, 1981 to 1988, during which, while composing song-cycles, he returns to the symphonic music. Most significant works written are the Third Symphony, the Seventh Symphony, his first opera Kostas Kariotakis (The Metamorphoses of Dionysus) and the Zorbas ballet.
Finally, during the fifth period (1989 to date), he composes three operas (lyric tragedies) Medea, Electra and Antigone. This trilogy is complemented by his new Opera Lysistrata. With these works Theodorakis ushers in the period of the Lyrical Life, that is, his complete turn to lyricism and perfection of the lyrical musical expression within the total range of his musical achievement.
Under the influence
22 January 2005
Athens hogs the limelight, but there are other cities. Paul Hamilos tries Salonika.
I like this city enormously. I can't believe it's ours! exclaimed a leading Greek politician visiting Salonika for the first time after it had been liberated from the Ottomans in 1912. Arriving by train from Athens, I momentarily feared that I had crossed the Greek border and mistakenly arrived in some anonymous Balkan city. With grey office blocks on every corner, and traffic clogging the roads, my first impression didn't quite live up to that of the victorious returning Greek, but a walk along the seafront soon changed that.
Despite a chill in the air, the pavement tables were full. Overlooking the Thermaikos Gulf, Nikis Avenue has a bewildering array of stylish bars that wouldn't look out of place in Manhattan; some (Tribeca, Elvis, DaDA) sound as though they were imported brick by brick. You wonder how they can be so popular during the day. What do these people do? Don't they have jobs to go to? But, as my friend Mihalis told me: We live to go out. And when the money runs out, we find a way of borrowing some more.
The bars add to the sense that there is something almost un-Greek about Salonika; less surprising when you learn that much of it was rebuilt after a fire in 1917, with French architect Ernest Hébrard adding wide avenues and a grid plan. Athens may be the biggest village in Greece, but Salonika is a modern city in a European style.
The 20th-century reconstruction hides a fascinating, multicultural past. It has been ruled at various times by the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, with Venetians, Normans, Catalans and Brits all making cameo appearances throughout its long life, each leaving their own physical or psychological footprint.
Much of the Ottoman influence has been expunged, though there is something of Istanbul in the central bazaar, with stalls selling anything from sweets and spices to live animals and handmade furniture. The old Jewish Modiano meat and fish market attests to the former presence of another important community, sadly no longer to be found in any significant number.
Vassilis, a local artist and filmmaker, offered to show me around. We started off with dinner at the Dore-Zynthos followed by a beer at Elvis, where DJ Pale Penguin (also known as Gregory) played house music. Then it was next door to Thermaikos, where the furniture is imported from Camden Market and the mojitos could be straight out of Havana. After that, Art House, where students nodded their heads to electronic beats.
By then it was 5am and our beds beckoned, but for many the night was just getting started. Vassilis recommended a number of clubs in Xyladika, near the old railway station, where old warehouses and factories have been converted into multi-venue complexes. Whether we wanted pop, funk, jazz, house or something more traditionally Greek, he was sure we would find it.
Next morning, our hangovers demanded the restorative powers of some quiet contemplation in Salonika's numerous museums. The modernist red-brick of the Museum of Byzantine Culture conceals a classical treat of sculptures, frescoes, mosaics and icons. Over the road, the Archaeological Museum houses more gold ornaments than P Diddy's dressing table. The Costakis Collection at the State Museum of Contemporary Art consists of 1,275 works of avant-garde Russian art, all the more remarkable given that Costakis himself worked as a driver at the Greek embassy in Moscow.
Older sights occasionally pop up out of nowhere: walk along the busy Egnatia Avenue and you'll find the third-century arch of Galerius and the Roman Rotonda.
Later we dined on politiki kouzina (like traditional Greek food, but with added Anatolian spice) at To Peran. Delicious Turkish-style kebabs with yoghurt, souzoukakia (Smyrna sausages) and all manner of stuffed vegetables were matched by a Macedonian red wine. For all Salonika's modernity, sometimes you need reminding of how things were when the line between east and west was a little more blurred.
Posted by the Guardian Unlimited
Archaeologists ready to tunnel for treasure
July 28, 2006
Thessaloniki, Greece - Another subway in Greece, another look into the past.
Tunnelling work to build a metro system for the country's second-largest city started on Thursday, as culture ministry officials signed an agreement to protect antiquities they expect to be discovered during construction.
The agreement follows a massive horde of antiquities uncovered while building a new subway system in Athens, which opened in 2000, with extensions added before the 2004 Olympics. Some of the discoveries are on display at Athens stations.
The Thessaloniki subway system will span about 10 kilometres with 13 stations and is due to be completed by 2012.
Work involving two large tunnel-boring machines started Thursday. The machines were named Cassander and Thessalonica, after the king who founded the northern city 2 300 years ago and his wife.
Haris Tsimatzis, a government project inspector, said the position of several subway stations and tunnelling depth had been changed to accommodate archaeologists' recommendations.
Antiquities will be on display at at least three subway stations - just as they are in Athens, Tsimatzis said.
He said the excavation site would span about two hectares.
Archaeologists are hoping to find a cemetery, more than 2 000 years old, and parts of the city's ancient wall, as well as centuries of old roads, public baths and other buildings.
We're taking great care to protect the antiquities. Planning has been worked out in such a way that this care will not slow down the project, said Giorgos Yiannis, head of Attiko Metro, the state-run company, which is supervising the Thessaloniki subway.
Yiannis said most tunnelling would occur at 16m to 21m below ground, while most ancient artifacts were expected to be found at between 11m and 13m.
More than a million people live in greater Thessaloniki and about 430 000 cars are registered in the city.
By Costas Kantouris for Independent Online
Stylish and Cultured, Without the Big-City Hassle
August 3 2006
Thessaloniki stretches for seven and a half miles (12 km) along the Thermaikos Kolpos (Thermaic, or warm, Gulf), and is the economic and cultural capital of northern Greece. This energetic city with a population of one million is steeped in history and is today a metropolis marked by a blend of influences and traditions, as well as a youthful vitality.
Thessaloniki is packed with 2,300 years of history: it was first established by the ancient Macedonian dynasty, and numerous surviving ruins, churches and majestic fortress walls attest to the city’s later Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Although a devastating fire in 1917 irrevocably changed the city’s layout, the Ano Poli (Upper Town) is still filled with lovely and colorful wood-framed houses clinging to steep and narrow streets.
What the city is most known for among today’s Greeks, however, is its boisterous nightlife and sense of style. Thessaloniki is a dedicated student city and a plethora of eateries, night bars and cafés of all styles and types have sprung up to cater to its chic inhabitants. This center of culture also boasts many museums, cinemas, concerts and special events. Sophisticated shopping and omnipresent Greek sweets also set the city apart.
urther, Thessaloniki is located right between northern Greece’s best beaches: those of Katerini and Leptokaria to the southwest, and the Halkidiki Peninsula just to the southeast. The latter also offers a more sublime sort of getaway- the remote Mt. Athos, which takes up the third “finger” of the peninsula and preserves austere Byzantine monastic traditions. To get the necessary permissions one must start off at church offices in Thessaloniki (note that according to 11th-century legislation males only are permitted on Athos).
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