Throwback Thursday: A Los Angeles Greek Film Festival Recap

Los_Angeles_Greek_film_festival_2015

By Vasilis Papoutsis

The festival concluded its 5-day run with the screening of the Panos. H. Koutras’ film ”Xenia” and an
entertaining Orpheus Award ceremony that was headlined by Greek entertainer Panos Mouzourakis almost a month ago. The Festival hosted 42 filmmakers and screened 35 films from all over the world. Among the high quality films that I watched here are some that I think that are worth another look.

A Family Affair a documentary about the continuation of the Xylouris family legacy that won the
Audience award. The documentary shows the challenges that the younger generation faced when they
moved from Australia to Crete, their love for the music and their aspirations for the future. It was also great to see that Psarandonis continues to perform passionately. However if you were expecting to see a tribute to the most famous singer of the family, the legendary Nikos Xylouris, that is not the case here. Nikos Xylouris only gets a couple of brief mentions in the film and I think that is a significant omission. Despite that it is definitely worth checking out. Also special thanks to the Cretan community for the reception in the courtyard after the screening. S. Zoumberakis from the S.C. Cretan Association for the delicious treats, called kalitsounia, and L. Bestakis from the Omonoian Cretans of O.C for bringing his homemade tsikoudia and especially his ”rakomelo”, a special blend from raki and honey, fantastic!

Another film that deserves mention is Asteris Kutulas’ film ”Recycling Medea”. It is a fascinating
motion picture adventure, a cinematic canvas that mixes ballet dancing with opera music composed by
the iconic Mikis Theodorakis, narration, images of youth protests in the streets of Athens and a
character inspired by Anne Frank. Visually stunning and masterfully choreographed by Renato Zanella,
the dancing vividly conveys an array of feelings ranging from love, hate, revenge and ultimately Media’s
denial of the unbearable crimes she has committed.

”Agora,” a superbly produced documentary, won the Orpheus award for Best Documentary at the
festival. It chronicles the Greek financial crisis through testimonies of bipartisan finance ministers,
foreign economists and experts from the EU. It also shows the violent attacks from members of the
Golden Dawn against immigrants and most importantly it shows the pain and suffering of the Greek
people, devastated by the crisis. The despair of the father who has nowhere to house his child, the elder Greek who loses his job and cannot find another one while moving from place to place, too proud to ask his friends and family for help. In ancient Greece The Agora served a dual purpose. As a marketplace
and as a civic center where people assembled to discuss business, politics, civic affairs and even
philosophy. In modern times however, the agora has been used primarily as a marketplace until the
crisis. Then we witnessed a reincarnation of the agora as a civic center with tens of citizens waiting in line to address an issue of importance and engage in dialogue.

”A Night in Athens,” is Angelo Tsarouchas’ passion project. It is a one hour stand-up benefit
performance at the Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation theater in Athens, Greece. A hilarious take on
Angelo’s challenges growing up Greek in Canada embellished with stories about his Greek mother that
almost all of the Greeks growing up in the Diaspora will make an immediate connection. Also his
adventures from his visit to Greece where he filmed his documentary. You will be laughing during the
entire performance! For complete info on all the films you can visit the festival’s website at
Another film that got a lot of got a lot of positive comments was the short film ”Forever Young” by
director Spiros Charalambous, a celebration of love, intimacy and hope.

For complete info on all the films you can visit the festival’s website at www.lagff.org