Screenings take place at Westbourne Studios, near the famous Portobello market. The festival opens tonight with a very special screening of “The Trojan Women,” directed and translated into English by Michael Cacoyiannis, starring Katharine Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave and Irene Papas.
According to the LGFF’s Artistic Director Christos Prossylis, “the project promotes Greek or Greek related feature fiction films, short fiction films, documentaries, experimental films, video art and other kinds of films but also, screenplays, and the Greek culture in general, emphasizing in modern authors, creators and artists.”
The LGFF is being supported by a diverse audience featuring the local Greek and Greek Cypriot communities, but also traditional London movie lovers. Is it only Greeks?, we asked Christos, a festival diehard. “The Greek & Greek-Cypriot Community in London is actively supporting us year after year. We have noticed that every year a great number of well-informed, motivated, and open-minded people come to watch our films and also to attend our parties and workshops. The festival’s demographics show that 50% of this highly educated audience are not from Greece.”
From the numerous interesting submissions, here are the ones we find particularly outstanding:
“Common Denominator”: Three ordinary men meet in a small traditional coffee shop outside Athens by chance and start chatting about women. The owner of the coffee shop, Mr. Plato, joins the conversation. Nick is there to confront his cheating girlfriends. To him, all women are whores, not be trusted. Jim is there to meet the his in-laws to be; he believes that happiness lies in a normal and quiet life without many expectations. Alexander has gone there to meet a girl whom he has been chatting with online for the last 4 months. To him, a woman represents the most romantic thing in the world. Mr Plato believes that women are divine, since the woman of his life is his daughter. While they discuss, they all seem to know everything except for what they have in common. What is their common denominator?
“The Secret of Theseus”: An 11 minute short film that features the Greek hero Theseus battling with his fear before entering the labyrinth to kill Minotaur. The affection he has for Ariadne makes him have second thoughts, knowing he could have a life with her. That’s when he meets with his younger self. Little Theseus is fearless and persuades him that love is not a way to avoid death but a way to embrace living and dying without fear.
“Love in the Time of Crisis”: A documentary about the impact of the Greek financial crisis on love, sex and family life. The film, shot in Athens and Crete throughout 2013, documents the lives of young women, couples, people forced into sex work by poverty – and the politicization of porn. It explores the unseen effects of the economic crisis on dating, flirting, marriage, childbirth and family life. Meet the adults who are forced to live as teenagers, the couples who never miss a riot, the porn director who wants to change politics, the dreamers who have forgotten what it’s like to dream.
The number and variety of the Greek independent productions emerging today suggest that, despite the financial crisis, the future is promising for contemporary Greek cinema. Christos says: “The modern Greek cinema is very promising: independent, very talented, very creative. I am looking forward for the Greek State to support it effectively in the future, not only in the pre-production and production, but also in the post production and distribution.”
The festival will conclude on 18th October with the “Odysseus Awards” at Theatro Technis in London (26 Crowndale Road, London, NW1 1TT), an event that awards the best films in each category, as well as film directors, writers, actors and artists.