Introduction (1)

Panorama of European Cinema celebrates 25years of operation. A unique festival in its kind, which, in my opinion, has offered a lot to the cinephile audience of Athens: besides its approximately 2.000 films, which cover a wide spectrum of contemporary and classic cinema, Panorama has introduced to its visitors famous celebrities of the sector, such as Michelangelo Antonioni, Francis Ford Coppola, and Vittorio Taviani up to Harold Pinter, Emir Kusturica, Francesco Rosi and Ken Loach, to mention a few. Moreover, we have also honored Greek creators like Costa Gavras, Mihalis Kakogiannis, and Theodoros Angelopoulos, up to Mikis Theodorakis, Pantelis Voulgaris, Nikos Panayiotopoulos, Kostas Voutsas and Nikos Kourkoulos.

The general social issues, as well as the recent crisis, did not manage to obstruct Panorama’s operation up to now. The recent financial crisis might have restricted the number of our foreign visitors, but it has not affected in any way the programming of its films, which is the main goal of the festival. Thus, this year, Panorama of European Festival offers films covering a wide spectrum of cinematography, comprised with many issues and contemporary concerns.

The competition section of the festival includes the return of Raoul Ruiz, with his final film, prior to his death (“La noche d’enferente”), which deals with the issue of elderly citizens, Aleksey Balabanov explores through “Me Too” the quest of happiness, the Serbian Miroslav Momcilovic returns with the black comedy “Death of a Man in the Balkans”, the French Sandrine Bonnaire with the film “J’enrage de son absence”, presents the issue of loss and the attempt to rehabilitate into society, the Czech Marek Najbrt with the unusual “Polski Film”, the Icelander Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurosson with the prize winning film “Either Way”, which deals with loneliness and the fight for survival, the French Herve Lasgouttes with the Europa Label prize winning film “Crawl”, the Turkish Reis Celik with the emotional “Night of Silence”, Teona Strugar Mitevska from FYROM with the film “The woman who brushed off her tears”,  examining the portraits of two women from different countries, with various personal and existential problems. In total 11 films, including one exceptional Greek film, the “10th Day” by Vasilis Mazomenos.

Greek cinema is represented with three additional films which are not in the competition section, “The body’s joy and sorrow” by Andreas Pantzis, “11 meetings with my father” by Nikos Kornelios and the comedy “Greetings to Europe” by Nikos Alevras. Moreover, “Greek Immigrants” are represented by Elia Kazan, John Cassavetes, Costas Gavras, Nikos Papatakis, Roviros Manthoulis and Ado Kyrou, by showcasing some of their classic films. I should also mention the small but significant tribute to Theodoros Angelopoulos, who last year was presiding the critics’ jury.  As a small tribute to his memory, as well as to his brilliant and unique body of work, Panorama will screen his movie “Reconstruction”. Additionally, beginning this year, the prize awarded by the critics’ jury comprised by members of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) will be entitled “Prize in honor of Theodoros Angelopoulos”. 

There are also various retrospectives, like the one on contemporary Turkish cinema, entitled “From Yilmaz Guney to Nuri Bilge Ceylan”, which besides Guney’s two classic films (“Suru” and “Umut”) the viewer will have the opportunity to watch films by directors like Semih Kaplanoglou, Yesim Ustaoglu, Seren Yuce, and of course Nuri Bilge Ceylan. For the fans of thriller films, this year we will be featuring the segment “Fright Night: From Dusk Till Dawn” which will include films by directors like Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, George Romero, Takashi Miike, Clive Barker, Wes Craven and Stuart Gordon.

For Western fans there is a retrospective to the “Budd Boetticher’s Westerns”, a previously unrecognized significant director of the genre, who has produced some of the most important classical westerns of the 50s, and since then has been recognized for his contribution both by the international critics (headed by critics of the French «Cahiers du Cinéma») as well as directors like Godard, Martin Scorcese, and Clint Eastwood.

«Neo-nazism in cinema» presents special interest, since it is a contemporary subject to us, including a series of films that deal with the appearance of an extremely dangerous ideology which can lead to fascism riots and abolishing democracy.

This year’s tributes also include «Contemporary Cypriot Cinema», featuring films by notable Cypriot directors: Andreas Pantzis, Christos Siopahas, Aliki Danezi-Knutsen, Christos Georgiou, Panikos Chrissanthou, Danai Stylianou, and of course Mihalis Kakogiannis. 

Concluding, I should mention the two films that will be screened on the opening and closing ceremony of the festival: The recent adaptation of Tolstoy’s "Anna Karenina" by Joe Wright ("Atonement") will signal the commencement of the festival, while the erotic-crime thriller "The Paperboy" by Lee Daniels will signal the end of the festival on 26 November, which will be held at Odeon OPERA cinema theater.

All films offer pleasure, joy, laughter, emotion but at the same time raise concerns and make the audience think. These are films about our lives, our societies, our past, our present and our (restless) future. The choice is yours.


Ninos Fenek Mikelidis
Festival Director