CULTURE

Mercouri celebrated in commemorative book

A commemorative 600-page edition with images of Melina Mercouri was recently presented in an emotionally charged atmosphere at the new wing of the Benaki Museum. The «Melina: Sunday Forever» edition, published by SKAI 100.3 Editions and Kerkyra Publications, contains film posters from all Mercouri’s films that were successful on an international scale. Thanks to the efforts of collector Giorgos Pilichos, who traveled around the world to locate the posters, this rare material is now available to all readers, and those who feel nostalgia for Mercouri need only to browse through the book’s pages. Apart from the posters, the edition also contains striking drawings by Denny Vlachioti of costumes from the films; a handwritten score by Mikis Theodorakis with the music of «Phaedra,» which the composer provided especially for the edition; a handwritten note by director Michael Cacoyannis and much more. All of Mercouri’s prominent colleagues appear beside her on the posters, namely Alekos Alexandrakis, Giorgos Fountas, Peter Ustinov, Anthony Perkins, Maximilian Schell and more, while others, such as Jacques Lang, Spyros Mercouris and Denny Vlachioti have written a few words. Some of those close to her were part of the discussion panel at the recent event, including Mercouri’s brother Spyros Mercouris, her doctor and current Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis, her close friend Costas Laliotis and writer Nikos Papandreou. They all talked about Melina’s vision, her faith in the value of Greek civilization and her original ideas. Jules Dassin was absent but he was shown, in a short film, holding the book tenderly and thanking the collector for his gesture and the publishers. Benaki Museum Director Angelos Delivorias pointed out that Melina Mercouri had put her signature as culture minister to the museum’s renovation and Babis Papadimitriou, the director of SKAI 100.3, made a reference to the 1994 concert at the Olympic Stadium in her honor which was organized by the radio station and which also sponsored the exhibition of her film posters at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. Born in 1957, Pilichos met the actress when he was a teenager and they remained friends until her death in 1994. He studied art history at Canada’s McGill University and has also worked in shipping. He has carried out studies for archaeological documentaries and his poster collection boasts 2,200 posters, 600 of which feature Mercouri.