A labor of love over 20 years

The Panorama of European Cinema, organized annually by the Eleftherotypia daily, is rich, varied and has been put together with passion and diligence for the past 20 years by film critic Ninos Fenek Mikelidis. Starting today and running until October 21 at the Ideal, Mikrokosmos and Trianon movie theaters in central Athens, the inauguration of this year’s anniversary edition will take place at 8 p.m. in the courthouse courtyard across the street from the Ideal on Panepistimiou Street, with a concert by the City of Athens Philharmonic Orchestra performing music from films. Opening the festival on the big screen will be «4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,» a Golden Palm-winning drama by Romania’s Christian Mungiu, which takes a comic look at the story of a woman who helps her friend arrange an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania before the fall of Ceausescu. This year’s program of the 20th Panorama – apart from the customary new releases and the competition section with European productions whose rights have been purchased by Greek distributors – also promises a number of interesting tributes. «Make Love Not War: The Age of Doubt – Then and Now» covers the hippie era, Woodstock, demonstrations against the Vietnam War, the May 1968 protests in France and the Watergate scandal, all the way to the globalization debate and the recent Guantanamo Bay scandal. Among the movies that will be shown are: Dennis Hopper’s «Easy Rider» (1969), D.A. Pennebaker’s anti-Vietnam War musical documentary «Monterey Pop» (1968), Arthur Penn’s «Alice’s Restaurant» (1969) and Robert Altman’s «MASH» (1970), among others. «Cult Movies and B-Movies» presents horrors and science-fiction thrillers, to film noir and westerns. «Carnival of Souls» by Herk Harvey (1962), «A Bucket of Blood» by Roger Corman (1959), the B-western «Forty Guns» (1957) by Samuel Fuller, «Performance» (1970) by Donald Cammell and Nicholas Roeg and «Freaks» (1932) by Tod Browning are just some of the selections on the menu. There is also a section on Greek cinema that addresses controversial social issues, with selected films by Stavros Tornes, Vassilis Vafeas, Nikos Nikolaidis and Yiannis Economides. Cate Blanchett will return as Queen Elizabeth I in Shekhar Kapur’s «Elizabeth: The Golden Age,» which will be shown at the festival in an avant-premiere screening, while there is also a tribute to Orson Welles. Other avant-premieres include «Factory Girl,» a biographical drama by George Hickenlooper, starring Sienna Miller and Guy Pierce; Ang Lee’s war thriller «Lust Caution;» Golden Palm-nominated drama «Import/Export» by Austria’s Ulrich Seidl; Manuel Huerga’s portrait of Spanish anarchist and bank robber Salvador Puig Antich, «Salvador;» and Emir Kusturica’s new drama, «Promise Me This.» Most of the tribute screenings will be held at the Trianon on Patission and at Mikrokosmos on Syngrou. The cinema figure to be honored this year at the 20th Panorama is Ken Loach, who will attend the closing ceremony and the screening of his latest film, the drama «It’s a Free World.»

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