Introduction (1)

Thirty years ago, on September of 1988, when we were just starting as one of the events under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture, on the occasion of the Year of European Cinema and Television, that was announced by the European Committee, Panorama of European Cinema had its eye on the promotion of the European cinema, and mainly the Greek one.

“Why European Cinema?”, was the question on the introduction of our catalogue at the time. “Because, here lie not only our roots, but also the roots of all the films in the world. Here are the Lumiere Brothers, but also the miraculous Méliès, the pioneer creators of Brighton, Zecca and Antre Deed and Max Linder. Here is where “Trip on the Moon” was created, along with “Fantom”, “Nick Carter, Mater Detective” and “Quo Vadis”. Here is where Edwin Porter and David Work Griffith and Charlie Chaplin, got their inspiration. In order to pass the baton to Victor Sestrem and Mauritz Stiller, Fritz Lang and Friedrich Murnau, Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin, along with the pioneers of the French Avant-garde.”

This is the cinema we wanted to celebrate back then, and this is the cinema we still celebrate all these years, and I hope we will keep celebrating in the future. Its power, its beauty, its amazing history, over the last 120 years, its rich past but also its potentials, the dream that it offers us, a dream that does not put us to sleep –that is what some cinematographies do – but also awakens us, makes us wonder, look for answers and keeps our minds alert. All of the above, combined with our entertainment, of course.
As it was mentioned back then, on the same catalogue of 1988, by Serafim Fintanides, the man who loved and supported the Panorama wholeheartedly, during his time at “Eleftherotipia”: “Some people open radio stations, others program tv channels, some others buy banks, newspapers and magazines. But us, here at “Eleftherotipia”, insist on our old habits… Because, how long will our lives last? “We are made of the same material, dreams are made of”, isn’t that what Prospero says on the “Tempest”? That’s why we chose the DREAM. That being, the cinema.”.

That is, as a matter of fact, the DREAM, that we keep on loving wholeheartedly this year and that offers us a new vision on the contemporary European cinema. The one that we are not used on watching – and the one we should be watching – in the theatres. Films, from countries such as France, Italy, Russia, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, and certainly Greece. But also, a turn back to the roots, its rich history, that being accomplished by the grandiose tribute to Luchino Visconti. It’s a chance to watch again the restored copies of masterpieces such as “Rocco and its Brothers” and “Death in Venice”, along with all the other important films of this major auteur, from his neo-realistic period, with the, now classic, “The Earth Trembles” and “Ossessione”, all the way to his last masterpieces, such as “Conversation Piece” and “The Innocent”.

This year’s schedule, also comprises a tribute to the black and white film, named “The Fascination of Black and White, in Greek and European Cinema”, a tribute that is organized in cooperation with the Greek Film Critics Association (PEKK), with films that were produced and keep being produced over the last decades in black and white film, even though color is inflicted since the 1970s. The same subject, has also been the inspiration of seven new visual artists in the exhibition we are presenting, until the 9th of November, titled “Black Beauty: the Fascination of Black and White in Films”, at STOArt Gallery (in Korai Arcade).

Like every year, the 30th Panorama will include in its program a silent film, screened along with live music. This year, the choice was Griffith’s masterpiece “Intolerance” (1916), which will be screened with its original filters (like the time it was filmed), in Megaron – the Athens Concert Hall. It’s a film that deeply affected cinema over the following decades – being monitored thoroughly by Pudovkin and Eisenstein before filming their own masterpieces. The music is written by Panorama’s regular partner, Nikos Platanos. Last but not least, short films are being represented by films produced by “HORME Pictures” and New York College students, films through which the new talents of our cinema will emerge, at some point in time.

Ninos Fenek Mikelides
Panorama Director