A great Greek auteur passes away

Acclaimed Greek film director  Nikos Koundouros passed away on Wednesday, at the age of 90 after being admitted to hospital for respiratory problems.

Koundouros was considered one of the most notable modern Greek directors while his 1956 film “The Ogre of Athens” is considered by many to be the best Greek film of that decade.

His work was officially selected at numerous international film festivals in the 50s and 60s including the prestigious Berlin Film Festival where his film “Young Aphrodites” took out the Silver Bear award as well as the top prize at the Thessaloniki Film Festival in 1963.

His work has been repeatedly broadcast on British and French television and there are copies of his films in many important film museums around the world.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a tweet Koundouros was one of the founders of modern Greek cinema and a proud man. “We bid him farewell with respect,” he added.

Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou hailed his work and expressed her condolences to his family. “Today we bid farewell to Nikos Koundouros, but the images of an entire era will be forever preserved in his movies. I would like to express my warmest condolences to his family, his wife and his children, as well as his relatives,” she said.

Koundouros was born in Agios Nikolaos, Crete in 1926. He studied painting and sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts. During the war he was a member of the left-wing resistance movement EAM-ELAS, and because of this was subsequently exiled to the Makronissos prison island. At the age of 28 he decided to follow a career in cinematography. He started his career as a director of the film Magiki Polis (1954), where he combined his neorealism influences with his own artistic viewpoint. He cast Thanasis Veggos, who he had met at Makronissos, as one of the characters in Magiki Polis.[1] After the release of his complex and innovative film O Drakos, he found acceptance as a prominent artist in Greece and Europe, and acquired important awards in various international and Greek film festivals.

Filmography

Cinema
Magiki Polis, English: Enchanted City (1954)
O Drakos, English: Draco (1956)
Oi Paranomoi, English: The outlaws (1958)
To Potami, English: The river (1960)
Mikres Aphrodites: English: Young Aphrodites, English Title: Young Aphrodites (1963)
To Prosopo tis Medousas, English: The face of Medusa, English Title: Vortex (1967)
To tragoudi tis fotias, English: The song of fire (1975)

1922 (1978)
Bordello, English: Brothel (1984)
Byron, balanta gia enan daimonismeno, English: Byron, Ballad for a possessed (1992)
Oi fotografoi, English: The photographers (1998)
To ploio, English: The Ship (2011)by Showtime Productions ( www.showtimeproductions.gr)

TV documentaries
Ifigeneia en Tavrois (1991)
Antigoni (1994)
Ellinisti Kypros
Cinemithologia (2010) by Showtime Productions

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.

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