A TOUCH OF SPICE (POLITIKI KOUZINA)

Dir. and screenplay by Tassos Boulmetis

Fanis, a professor of astronomy, finds himself compelled to journey back to Turkey after decades of exile in Greece. His returnto his birthplace, Istanbul, brings back bittersweet memories of his childhood and of his beloved grandfather who taught him that like food, life requires a touch of spice to give it flavor.

Winner, Best Picture, Thessaloniki Film Festival.

BACK DOOR (POSO PORTA)

Dir. Giorgos Tsemberopoulos

This story of a brutal coming of age takes place in 1966 when Greece was wavering between reform and self destruction. The unexpected death of his father leads thirteen-year-old Dimitris to the belief that his childhood is over. He feels a need to assume all the responsibilities his father bore, including protecting his pampered mother. When an up and coming political star makes advances to his mother, Dimitris becomes alarmed. A succession of betrayals, minor and major, propels him toward an act of vengeance that could alter Greek history.

BRIDES (NYFES)

Dir. Pandelis Voulgaris
Screenplay Ioanna Karystiani

In the summer of 1922, the SS King Alexander sails from Smyrna with 700 picture brides (the vast majority young Greek women) bound for New York and waiting husbands-to-be. The complex intersection of the new and old world cultures is embodied in a shipboard romance between Norman Harris, an American photographer, and Niki, a Greek seamstress. Their story unfolds in a manner that illuminates the hopes, fears and desperation of these courageous young women.

(This film is not subtitled, but much of it is in English)

BUZZ

Dir. and screenplay by Spiro N. Taraviras

One of the most sought-after Hollywood screenwriters of the 1940s and 1950s was A. I. Bezzerides (nickname:Buzz), the immigrant son of a Greek father and an Armenian mother. “Beneath the Twelve-Mile Reef,” a tale of Greek sponge divers in Tarpon Springs, and film noir classics “Thieves’ Highway” and “Kiss Me Deadly” are among his best known films. His Hollywood social circle included Humphrey Bogart, William Faulkner, Robert Aldrich and Robert Mitchum. This award-winning documentary journeys to the places where Buzz lived and worked with a revealing look at how Hollywood’s production system operated.

(This film is in English)

CHARITON’S CHOIR (I HORODIA TOU HARITONA)

Dir. Grigoris Karantinakis
Screenplay by Grigoris Karantinakis, Giorgos Makris, Dimitris Vakis

Chariton, a schoolmaster in a provincial town, believes every woman is beautiful, every wine excellent (if shared), and every day an opportunity for joy. His playful cheerfulness inspires and stimulates the students participating in his great passion, a choir. But these are the junta years, and more than a little cunning is needed for Chariton’s positive outlook to prevail. The often tender Chariton is wonderfully rendered by the internationally known Greek actor George Corraface.

Winner, Best Picture, Thessaloniki Film Festival.

DUST (I SKONI POU PEFTI)

Dir. and screenplay Tassos Psarras

Chronis, a successful journalist, lives in Athens with a wife and two children. Examining archival film footage of the civil war, he sees an image of his father, a royalist, marching in a column of communist guerillas! Chronis becomes obsessed with learning what his father actually believed and how he died. No side comes up stainless as he probes into the complexities of the civil war. Chronis also becomes involved in a sexual relationship that parallels the political enigmas he is trying to unravel.

HEART OF THE BEAST (I KARDIA TOU KTINOUS)

Dir. and screenplay Renos Haralambidis

Stefanos represents many young contemporary Greek males. Upon completion of his military obligation, all Stefanos own saredebts left by his just deceased mother. Job opportunities are non-existent, and his girlfriend has ditched him. Two boyhood friends,the criminal Tsakiris and the social revolutionary Aris, convince him that robbing the bank where Aris works willsolve all their problems.The robbery and its aftermath offer a hilarious look at the foibles of contemporary Greece. RenosHaralambidis in the role of Stefanosleads the mayhem in this Marxian (Groucho) romp.

HOSTAGE (OMIROS)

Dir. and screenplay Constantine Giannaris

An Albanian immigrant hijacks a bus in Thessaloniki and takes seven passengers hostage. Holding a hand grenade, he demands a ransom of $50 million and safe passage to his homeland. As the bus moves through northern Greece, the narrative alternates between what is going on inside the bus and activities of the police, television crews, desperate relatives and bystanders outside. We learn much about the Albanian, his captives and contemporary Greece.

This highly controversial film is based on an event that actually occurred in Greece.

RED THURSDAY (KOKKINI PEMPTI)

Dir. and screenplay Christos Siopachas

In this film from Cyprus, Angelos longs for the magical day, Red Thursday, when his wildest dreams will come true. Unfortunately, such a day does not exist on any calendar. When he is arrested at a police roadblock with an illegal cargo of cheeses, he lands up in jail. There he meets Alexei, a charismatic Russian adventurer and idea peddler. Little does Angelos know that this meeting will eventually turn his dreams into nightmares.

SONG OF LIFE (TO TRAGOUDI TIS ZOIS)

Dir. and screenplay Tony Likouressis

The Jewish community on the island of Zakynthos (Zante) was unique in Europe in that it did not lose a single member during the Holocaust. How Bishop Chrysostomos, Mayor Loukas Karrer, and the entire island defied the Occupation forces is the subject of this documentary. Events are examined in detail and given a compelling historical context. The film ends with a joyful reunion of Christian and Jewish neighbors that reflects the essence of the Greek way of life.

THE WAKE (AGRIPNIA)

Dir. Nikos Grammatikos
Screenplay by Nikos Panayotopoulos and Nikos Grammatikos

This well-crafted crime drama features two estranged brothers who lead very different lives. Andreas is a policeman and Nikos is a priest. The brothers have not spoken for a decade. When Andreas shoots his wife, he turns to his underworld contacts for help in leaving the country before he is arrested. But it is his younger brother Nikos who finally shapes his fate. The eventful night they spend together becomes a de facto wake for Andreas’s wife and for the brothers’ troubled past.

WHO’S ON FIRST?

Dir. Valerie Kontakos

As host of the 2004 Olympics, Greece was allowed to bypass all the standard criteria and field contestants in any Olympic sport it chose. Greece had never competed in baseball before, but in 2004 it would field a team. This was due in large measure to the intervention of Greek Americans. Just how that story played out is the subject of this documentary which like the Abbot and Costello routine it is named after is filled with considerable frustration and misunderstanding, but offers plenty of laughs along the way.

SHORT FILMS

COSMOPOLIS

Greek American director Alana Kakoyiannis presents a portrait of a small family-owned diner in Astoria where customers and employees find a second home. The individuals who float in and out bring their lives, their stories and their humanity, forming a microcosm of our society.

KALIPOLIS

In this award-winning short film by Greek Cypriot filmmaker Minos Papas, a young woman arrives in New York City for the first time and discovers an audio tape left behind by the previous tenant of her apartment. She listens to the tape and is transported on a journey through the city, seen through the eyes of a poet preparing to leave forever.