Once-censored film returns to the screen

Nikos Koundouros’s 1958 masterpiece «Oi paranomoi» (The Outlaws) – banned due to government censorship after just a week in theaters when it was first released – can finally be seen again at the cinema. It premiered for a second time yesterday, at the Zephyros open-air theater in Ano Petralona. Set among the pinnacle rocks of Meteora, central Greece, the film features ex-guerrilla fighters from the civil war who try to escape their personal problems and the gendarmerie. The film was censored after Koundouros refused to delete a scene in which a gendarme kills a fugitive while delivering him to justice. Nonetheless, the movie participated in the Berlin Film Festival, where it received rave reviews. Postwar 1950s Greek society was sensitive to its still-open wounds. «I stubbornly and naively tried to touch upon these wounds. I didn’t realize that the quickest way for both winners and losers to come out of the darkness was to forget,» said Koundouros, who shot the film in the then deserted Meteora under harsh circumstances – scorching temperatures of 42 degrees Celsius in August and then unbearable cold and rain in December. «The defeat was final. The film is just a tiny voice fighting not to forget the heroes of all those struggles,» he said to Kathimerini this week. «I was encouraged by the unexpected success of the re-release of ‘O Drakos,’ I gave ‘Outlaws’ to New Star and to Velissarios Kosyvakis, who has my complete work. I trust his judgment and I agree with his view that the audience is not saturated with cinema yet, so films can always come back, seeking new audiences but also offering young people the mood of earlier times.» Koundouros also wrote the script and was in charge of the sets and costumes. The film has music by Manos Hadjidakis and stars Titos Vandis, Petros Fyssoun, Nelly Angelidou and Anestis Vlachos.