Brighter future for Athens monuments

Former «Cultural Olympiad» head Michalis Cacoyannis, the well-known Cypriot-born filmmaker who resigned from his post two years ago, seems to have found support from both the government and archaeological authorities for another Olympics-related initiative, the lighting of monuments ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympics. Cacoyannis, who had been appointed head of the «Cultural Olympiad,» Greece’s four-year series of events leading to the Athens 2004 Olympics, resigned two years ago after a brief stay, citing bureaucratic impediments to his work. «I have promises, written promises, both from the Culture Ministry and Athens Municipality,» Cacoyannis, the 80-year-old director best known for his 1965 film «Zorba the Greek» and «Electra,» told a recent news conference. It was held to discuss recently completed research, for the lighting project, by a renowned lighting effect designer, Pierre Bideau. «All of our efforts, every step being taken by Mr Bideau is done so in cooperation with archaeologists appointed by the Central Archaeological Council (KAS),» noted Cacoyannis. The veteran director said plans for the intended lighting project dated back to his brief tenure as «Cultural Olympiad» chief. He added, humorously, «Fortunately, I didn’t get the chance to promote the project because it would never have been realized.» As for the project’s current prospects, Cacoyannis emphatically rejected doubts by journalists, at the news conference, over the project’s completion in time for the Athens 2004 Olympics. «It seems that you don’t know me well. When I say that something will be done, it gets done,» Cacoyannis said. Upholding his decision to directly select his lighting designer, Bideau, and not recruit from a list of candidates, Cacoyannis contended that his choice was optimal. «I always turn to the world’s best,» he said. Bideau, a Frenchman whose extensive list of previous lighting projects includes the Eiffel Tower, said he had always hoped to work on monuments here. «I was once asked which monuments I would like to light, and I replied: the sites in Karnak, Luxor, and the Greek monuments,» Bideau remarked. The Frenchman’s agenda of Greek monuments includes the Acropolis, Thiseion, Herod Atticus, and the hills of Lycabettus and Philopappou.