Lanthimos voices concern over historic Athens cinemas

Lanthimos voices concern over historic Athens cinemas

Acclaimed Greek film director Yorgos Lanthimos added his voice to those calling for the rescue of three historic cinemas in central Athens which are at immediate risk of closure.

“I would like to add my voice to those who have recently expressed their concern about the disappearance of historic cinemas from the center of Athens, and to express my support in the efforts to save them,” the director said in a video-message published on social media.

“I consider it self-evident that we understand their value, socially and culturally, for the center of such a city, and I implore the authorities and those who have the real authority to do what is necessary to designate these cinemas as listed, so that they can continue their operation,” he added.

Integral parts of the capital’ cultural scene, the Ideal has been around since 1921 and the Astor since 1947.

The future of the Ideal and Astor, two of the Greek capital’s oldest movie theaters, looks uncertain amid speculation over the intentions of the owner of the buildings housing the cinemas, the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA). Last week, a Greek hospitality business, Mitsis Hotels, announced it had leased the building from EFKA and was planning an extensive renovation to turn into a luxury 5-star hotel.

A third cinema in central Athens threatened with closure is Irida, the cultural association of the Athenian University students that first opened its doors in the 1960s.

In March 30, the Culture Ministry ruled that Ideal and Astor cannot be regarded as historic cultural monuments, stating that they “do not meet the criteria” for enhanced protection and citing legislation passed in 2021. It also clarified that it has no jurisdiction over the two buildings and no say in how they are used.


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