Film Panorama back in town

The 19th Panorama of European Cinema, organized every autumn by Eleftherotypia newspaper, will kick off tonight with Oliver Stone’s much-awaited «World Trade Center» (10 p.m. at the Ideal cinema) and will continue tomorrow with Nikos Panayiotopoulos’s much-discussed «Dying in Athens,» at 9.15 p.m. at the Trianon. Despite its American opening, the Panorama still focuses on European cinema and this year is enriched by a tribute to Harold Pinter. Apart from the movies, the tribute will also include an exhibition with published and photographic material, which will trace Pinter’s 50-year career in theater, cinema and literature, at the Pireos Street annex of the Benaki Museum. A discussion on Pinter’s politics will also take place, with the participation of Eleftherotypia editor Seraphim Fyntanidis, writer Petros Tatsopoulos and Athens University professor Constantinos Tsoukalas. Tonight’s opening will feature pre-recorded messages about Pinter by actors Meryl Streep (who had starred in «The French Lieutenant’s Woman») and Kenneth Branagh, as well as a short message by the writer himself, who due to serious health problems is unable to attend the event. In an introduction to his new film, which will mark the panorama’s official opening tomorrow, Nikos Panayiotopoulos made a reference to Frederic Rossif’s film about the Spanish Civil War, «Mourir a Madrid» (To Die in Madrid). «The difference is that Rossif’s leading character dies gloriously in search of utopia, while my character just dies in 2006 Athens, without knowing what he is after,» Panayiotopoulos said. This year’s two great tributes, to subversive and futuristic cinema, are a great opportunity for local audiences to watch films rarely screened in Greece. The event’s European focus does not exclude artists whose work shares common features with European cinema; there will also be a tribute to American filmmaker Sam Peckinpah. Actress Harriet Andersson, who has worked with Ingmar Bergman, will be honored, as well as Greek actress Zoe Laskari. The competition section, which exclusively consists of new European productions that have not been bought by Greek distributors, will include Belgian filmmaker Lucas Belvaux’s «La raison du plus faible,» from the competition section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, as well as Marco Bellocchio’s award-winning Italian film «Il Regista di matrimoni.» The avant-premieres section will feature the latest productions by Ken Loach and Woody Allen, among others. The Panorama will also honor Alexis Bistikas, on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of his death, with the screening of «The Clearing.» The film, which also marked Derek Jarman’s last appearance on the big screen, is a Royal College of Art production, with which Bistikas got his MA. «We are honoring a very promising filmmaker, who showed us signs of his talent but didn’t have enough time to give all he had to give,» said critic Ninos Fenek Mikelidis.