Under the Same Light
We welcome you to the 1st Greek Film Days in Istanbul and we are happy Istanbul welcomes us to share together the beauty of Cinema Art. Despite the delay due to the pandemic, the Greek Cinema didn’t give up the voyage to Istanbul, suitcase left hanging but in hand. We went on to enhance plans and finalize a selection of seventeen auteur films from sixties to eighties, all of them awarded in Greece and abroad. Courtesy of the Hellenic Film Academy, we were provided eight digitally restored copies from the initiative MOTHERLAND, I SEE YOU. Sadly, this time, directors with notable works to their credit in the experimental avant-garde cinema as well as the Documentary Film, had to be left out due to the limited number of screenings. Almost all films selected are unknown to the Turkish filmgoers and are prepared to be acquainted on the big screen of Pera Museum which opens the way for works of Art, worthy to be seen. Τhe screenings are accompanied by a selection of the unique worldwide HELLAFI collection of gigantic, hand painted posters from acclaimed artists, known as the “Seven-day Art’; enormous painted re-enactments of scenes from the movies, during the height of cinema as a medium of wide popular entertainment (1950-1975). It is hosted in Sismanoglio Megaron, the Exhibition Hall of the Greek Consulate, and a smaller part in Pera Museum.
In the mid ‘50s and ‘60s, independent directors with different liberal thematic and stylistic perspectives, appeared on the Greek film scene and challenged the organized mainstream production, becoming the leading forerunners of a new generation of film directors coming along during the dictatorship (1967-1973). With a great sense of camaraderie, they undertook the risk to baptize themselves as director-producers, determined to upturn convention and salute an ambitious artistic expression. Resisting common commercial imperatives, their artwork is distinguished away from mere entertainment promoted as culture. Their films share a personal gaze and distinctive aesthetics; a space where the creative and the political meet, with freedom for experimentation and continuous renewal, whose impact can be clearly traced in contemporary Greek Cinema.
Yet, apart from certain recognized film directors, whose work crossed the borders, the Greek Cinema in its thematic and aesthetic variety, reflecting a diversity of issues and trends of our society over the course of time, is little known in Turkey. Respectively, the same applies to Turkish Cinema in Greece. What a loss especially since cinema is about maximizing communication, expressing utterance beyond the system of human languages, abolishing time and space, and thus sustains an engrossing emotional interaction, testing our thought and belief.
Sharing the experience of working together on a movie filmed entirely in Turkey, we had the opportunity to recognize how the reality closest to us, has imprinted a stigma somewhere in the collective soul, affecting our relations. Being under the same light, we need ways to bridge the differences just as much as we bond over similarities, by levelling up our relations, in the spirit of good faith, partnership and friendship. Bridging the divide is what Art is here for, demonstrating its wealth, diversity and power on the front line; a plea for continuous dialogue and, in these excessively distraught times, making space for hope. Hope is power. Change is possible. The initiative, aiming to become a yearly cultural event, is under the auspices and financial support of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports. It wouldn’t be efficiently implemented without the valuable support right from the start of his Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Mr. Bartholomew, the Greek Film Center (grand sponsor), the General Consulate of Greece in Istanbul, the Pera Museum, the Hellenic Film Academy, the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum, Zografyon Lyceum and, Istos Film and Publishing House. Last, we would like to thank each and every one who participated in the realization of this event.
Fotini Siskopoulou Josefina Markarian (EMEIS)