Recently renovated Pallas Theater welcomes Queen Sofia of Spain and other VIPs for ‘El Greco’ premiere

It had been a while since Athens had seen such a glittering film premiere. The once-regular Monday premieres at the Pallas, Attikon, Rex, Orpheas or Maxim cinemas, with homegrown stars such as Aliki Vouyiouklaki and Elli Lambeti surrounded by Athenian high society of the time, scenes that once drew large crowds, are now only seen in photographs at the Cinema Museum in Thessaloniki. Now only a win by our national soccer team can bring people out into the streets. But a Greek superstar of the past, Domenikos Theotocopoulos, better known as El Greco, managed to attract the Spanish queen and her sister, Princess Irene, to the renovated Pallas Theater this week for the premiere of a film of the artist’s life by Yiannis Smaragdis. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his wife Natassa, Communist Party of Greece leader Aleka Papariga, government ministers and other officials were also there, along with composer Vangelis Papathanassiou, who wrote the score, and Cretan singer Loudovikos ton Anogeion, who appears in the film, set on Crete (where the artist was born), and in Venice and Spain. The artist is played by British actor Nick Ashdon, with Juan Diego Botto as Nino de Guevara, a likely contender for an Oscar in a supporting role. Laia Marull plays Jeronima and Dimitra Matsouka plays Francesca.