Verne, WWII and the media

Now in its 18th year, the Eleftherotypia daily’s mini film festival, titled Panorama, has reached adulthood and is a steady staple for the capital’s film buffs. Opening tonight at the central Asty (until October 5) and Apollon (until October 9) movie theaters, this year’s event has three themes: the 100 years since the death of tale-spinner Jules Verne, 60 years since the end of World War II and Eleftherotypia’s 30th birthday. Around these themes, the festival will be showing Verne stories that have been put on celluloid, unreleased (in Greece) French films made in the 1940s, and films whose subjects center on the media. The section of the festival on Verne not only comprises films that have faithfully followed the books, but also films that have been inspired by the father of science fiction. Between Richard Fleischer’s classic 1954 «20,000 Leagues under the Sea,» with Kirk Douglas and James Mason, and Henry Levin’s 1959 «Journey to the Center of the Earth,» with Pat Boone, Mason and Arlene Dahl, the audience will also have the chance to see Steven Soderbergh’s 2002 «Solaris» and George Lucas’s 1971 «THX 1138.» Original material is the most interesting aspect of the tribute to the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Other than the four French films made over the duration of the war that have never before been shown in Greece and which reflect the spirit of the times in Europe, Panorama will also be showing Bertrand Tavernier’s 2002 «Laissez-passer,» starring Jacques Gamblin, Denis Podalydes and Charlotte Kady. The story relates the dilemma experienced by the French workers at the Paris-based German production company Continental Films, who must decide whether to work with the German occupiers or resign. The relationship between the media and cinema is the largest of the thematic units in this year’s Panorama, with 10 foreign and four Greek films. Among the highlights are Orson Welles’s «Citizen Kane,» Michelangelo Antonioni’s «Professione: reporter» Alan J. Pakula’s «All the President’s Men» and the the more recent «The Insider,» directed by Michael Mann. Avant-premieres The mini-festival also has a promising lineup of avant-premiere screenings, such as David Cronenberg’s crime thriller «A History of Violence,» with Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris and William Hurt, which will be screened at the official opening of the festival. Other avant-premieres include the Dardenne brothers’ drama «L’enfant» (Palme d’Or at Cannes), «Eros,» which is an ambitious 2004 project bringing together the directorial talents of Antonioni, Soderbergh and Wong Kar Wai, as well as the latest films by great directors such as Lars von Trier and Wim Wenders. Last, but not least, the Panorama festival will be awarding a special prize to Greece’s Michael Cacoyannis and Eleni Karaindrou for their contributions to cinema.