‘Hollywood magician’ to be honored at the next Thessaloniki Film Festival

Since 1997, when he made his first appearance at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival as a member of the jury in the international section along with his actress wife Aurore Clement and accepted a Golden Alexander for his contribution to cinema, Dean Tavoularis’s relationship with Greece has been growing strong. Since then, the celebrated production designer (who boasts Greek roots) has visited the country privately on a number of occasions. In 2001, for example, he attended a theater production that starred his good friend Gerard Depardieu at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus – Tavoularis designs the French star’s wine bottle labels. Oscar winner Dubbed the «dean of production designers» and «the Hollywood magician,» Academy Award winner Tavoularis (he won an Oscar for «The Godfather: Part II») is now being offered yet another chance to meet with the public in Thessaloniki and once again be the city’s honored guest. The Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, in collaboration with the Attiki Cultural Society, is currently organizing a large-scale exhibition of Tavoularis’s costume and set designs, as well as works of art, which is to go on display during the upcoming Thessaloniki International Film Festival, scheduled to take place from November 18 to November 27. Chances are the exhibition will focus on Tavoularis’s 25-year-long collaboration with director Francis Ford Coppola, while the show’s title is likely inspired by this director with whom Tavoularis’s work has mostly been associated: «Tavoularis: Apocalypse Now.» Interactive show The organizers’ plan is to present the designs alongside screenings of scenes from various films. This way, the talent of the production designer to add to the narrative atmosphere will be readily discernable in the cinematic outcome. Tavoularis has a reputation for being a perfectionist – and this is justified: «If an actor has to eat an apple, I have to decide whether it will be a green or red apple. Details might not be that important after all. The public, for instance, might never ‘smell’ the cuisine you design. Nevertheless, it’s an indication of the way in which you approach your work,» said Tavoularis in a past interview with Kathimerini. Tavoularis’s relationship with Coppola dates back to the beginning of the 1970s. Following «The Godfather» (1972), the two men met again on the set of «The Conversation» (1974), followed by «The Godfather: Part II» (1974); «Apocalypse Now» (1979) – where Tavoularis met his future wife, Aurore Clement – and «The Godfather: Part III» (1990). «It was a collaboration that turned into a long-running friendship. Through time, his taste and aesthetics became one with mine. I cannot pinpoint exactly where one ends and the other one begins,» Francis Ford Coppola said in a recorded message to toast the Golden Alexander won by Tavoularis, a «member of his family.» Perhaps this time around Coppola might also make the trip to Thessaloniki, though it appears that there are better chances that his director daughter Sofia Coppola («The Virgin Suicides,» «Lost in Translation») could make an appearance at the upcoming festival. Between two worlds Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1932, Tavoularis lives between two worlds. He likes to spend six months a year in Paris and the rest of the year in Los Angeles. Tavoularis feels – and defines himself – as a European, with a deep conviction that his European roots have influenced the way he looks at the world. In addition to his work in Hollywood, the celebrated production designer has also collaborated with prominent European directors, including Michelangelo Antonioni («Zabriskie Point» 1970) and Wim Wenders («Hammett» 1982).

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