Friday, February 25, 2011

PANORAMA OF GREEK CINEMA: The Four Seasons of the Law

On March 2, the Embassy of Greece, the Greek Film Center, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece will proudly present the Greek Film Series: Panorama of Greek Cinema at the Avalon Theater in Washington, D.C. This month's featured film, directed by Dimos Avdeliodis, is titled The Four Seasons of the Law (I earini synaxis ton agrofylakon).

The film screening will take place on Wednesday, March 2 at 8:00pm at the Avalon Theater:
5612 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20015. For more information, please call the Avalon at 202-966-6000 or visit the Avalon on the web at:

Structured on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which provide the musical background to the almost autonomous stories, the The Four Seasons of the Law renders marvelously the change from spring to winter and back to spring, as it has been shot in real time, and is permeated by the calmly reflective mood of the director. The story takes us to the island of Chios in the 1960s where the filmmaker was born. At that time, the law was established by the rural police who, on the one hand represent the local bosses, on the other are a thorn in the side of the poor villagers who have to keep them sweet in order that their crops are safe-guarded. The village of Tholopotamo also has its own policeman, but when he is found dead in the fields, they have trouble getting an immediate replacement. Despite the fact that candidates for the job are hard to find, since the village is beset by strange goings-on, every season a new man in blue turns up at the local tavern. None of them is able to tame the Tholopotamo inhabitants until the fourth one arrives and shows himself to be a man who understands the world of living tales and myths.
Against this pastoral backdrop, Avdeliodis sketches his main plot, i.e. the hunt for the gorgeous girl, who resists male desire like a wild animal, is elusive like a fairy, and in the end, crowns the victory of youthful love in the pagan setting of the Greek countryside.

Mastiha: A Greek Delicacy

Imagine being a student of Hippocrates in the 4th century BC, working alongside your teacher to discover natural remedies for common ills. Now you become a lady of the aristocracy in Ancient Rome, beautifying yourself so you can make an impression on your next outing. Transport yourself yet again to the Byzantine city of Constantinople. You are a wealthy merchant, flaunting your wares in the street alongside exotic spices and colorful silks. Your journey ends on the Greek island of Chios during Ottoman rule. You are a petty thief, but now you have gone too far; the sultan is threatening you with execution.

What do all of these people and places have in common? The answer is their relation to mastiha, a sap gathered from lentisk trees, which grow only on the southern part of Chios. This unique good has left its mark on history, especially on the diverse nations surrounding the Mediterranean. Hippocrates studied the medicinal properties of mastiha, while women in ancient Rome used toothpicks from lentisk tree bark to whiten their teeth. At a later point in history, mastiha was a central luxury export from Constantinople during Byzantine times, while it was also valued by the Ottomans. In fact, it was valued to the point where if one was caught stealing it, the penalty was death.
Why was mastiha able to transcend place and time and to touch the lives of so many people? One explanation is its rarity. Chios is the only place on earth where lentisk trees grow, so the supply of mastiha is not abundant. Considering its numerous uses, there has been a great demand for this scarce product. It is sold in its natural form, but also as mastiha oil, chewing gum, mastiha-flavored liqueur, and a spoon sweet dubbed “submarine” in Greek (a thick white paste which is dipped into a glass of water and then eaten). Besides its culinary use, however, mastiha is also an ingredient in cosmetics; soaps and face and body products can be made with mastiha oil. Furthermore, Hippocrates was justified in seeking mastiha’s medicinal properties. It has been proven to aid with stomach ulcers and even to lower cholesterol with regular use.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the fragrant sap was and is such a sought-after good. Every person, no matter his social status, profession, or nationality, could benefit from the properties of Greek mastiha. You can learn more about this product, its uses, and its history at

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Conde Nast Traveler Featured Greek Islands in January 2011 Issue

The January 2011 issue of Conde Nast Traveler magazine featured a tribute to one of Greece's least discovered destinations: the Archipelago of the Small Cyclades.

In an article titled "Pure Bliss: Four Perfect Little Isles in Greece", the magazine traveled to the tiny islands of Koufonisia, Schinousa, Iraklia, and Donousa, in search of idyllic beauty and the perfect Aegean beach, with reporter Jeffrey Tayler describing his discovery of an unaffected rural way of life and "utter tranquility". The story took the issue's cover and included a 15-page comprehensive photo article.

Click the link to see Conde Nast's hotel recommendations for the Small Cyclades:

Source: Greek News Agenda

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Constantine Cavafy in Holland

World Art Delft in Holland is presenting the 4th edition of its poetry project, WAD POETRY PROJECT IV, from January 29, with Constantine Cavafy’s poem "Ithaca" as its theme.

Inspired by Cavafy’s words, artists from all over the world will present original artworks in an effort to bring the beauty of poetry closer to man through visual arts.

The project, which includes poetry readings and competition, as well as an exhibition, will run through April 29 - Cavafy’s birthday which coincided with the day of his death.

Ithaca is likely one of Cavafy's most loved works. Recently, Hollywood actor Sean Connery and Greek composer Vangelis Papathanassiou collaborated to immortalize Cavafy's poem in a recording, with Connery's oration and Papathanassiou's musical orchestration. To listen, please visit this link:

Source: Greek News Agenda

International Online Film Competition

The 48 Go Green Competition, a nation-wide film competition with focus on environmental consciousness, calls on professional or amateur filmmakers to participate in this year’s session.

The rules are simple: all production and shooting of the film must be completed within the 48-hour duration of the festival. The topic of the film should focus on the assigned green theme. This is the third annual contest of the amateur film festival that started in Athens in 2009 and, after its big pilot success in Greece, is now going global and online.

The international 48 Hour Film Project, which inspired the Athens ecological version, has adopted the event and this year it is happening simultaneously on-line in cities and towns around the world, and as an "in person event" in 8 select cities.

The festival will take place on February 18-20. The winning film will be screened at the Cannes International Film Festival while the top 16 films will feature at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 9-14.

To visit the website of the competition, go to:

Source: Greek News Agenda

Monday, February 14, 2011

Athens Wine Festival Dionysia 2011

The Athens Wine Festival Dionysia 2011, Greece’s most important and exciting wine-tasting event of the year, was held on on February 12 and 13 at Zappeion Megaron Hall. This year, more than 120 wineries from all over the country presented 1,000 different varieties to the city’s wine lovers.
The annual festival is a unique opportunity to taste the new generation of fine Greek wines that have impressed international critics and won awards worldwide. Visitors may meet the vintners themselves and learn how they produce agiorgitico, xinomavro, assyrtico, and moschofilero, some of Greece's bewitching native grape varieties.

The event was held under the auspices of the National Interprofessional Association of the Vine and Wines, with the support of the city of Athens and the Athens Tourism & Economic Development Company.

Source: Greek News Agenda

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Free Online Classics Lecture with UltraMarathon Runner Dean Karnazes and Professor Paul Cartledge

On Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 1pm (Eastern time), a free webinar to celebrate the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon will be held featuring internationally-recognized marathon runner and author Dean Karnazes and Professor Paul Cartledge, chairman of Marathon2500 and A.G. Leventis Chair of Greek Culture at Cambridge University. Sponsored by the global nonprofit Reading Odyssey, Inc., the subject of the online lecture is Marathon and Moderns.

Dean Karnazes was named by Men's Fitness Magazine to be the "Fittest Man in the World", as well as one of the "Top 100 Most Influential People in the World" by Time Magazine. Recently, Karnazes has achieved his long-time goal of running 50 marathons, in all 50 U.S. states, in 50 consecutive days.
Paul Cartledge is a Hellenic Parliament Global Distinguished Professor in the History and Theory of Democracy at New York University and A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek History, the A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture, and a fellow of Clare College at Cambridge. Cartledge served as primary historical consultant for the BBC television series The Greeks and the Channel 4 series The Spartans. He has been honored with the Gold Cross of the Order of Honour, and he is an honorary citizen of Sparta.

For more information about events celebrating the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon, visit:

Friday, February 4, 2011

2011 Special Olympics to be Held in Athens

This summer, Athens will once again host the Olympic Games - this time, the Special Olympics World Summer Games. In June and July, over 7,000 athletes from all over the world will convene in Athens to compete in the games at various venues throughout the Athens area. The Special Olympics provides a forum for athletes with intellectual disabilities to participate in a wide range of sports, including, among many others, aquatics, basketball, golf, judo, tennis, and softball.

The opening ceremonies for the 2011 Special Olympic Games will be held in the Panathenaic Stadium, more colloquially known as the Kallimarmaro. Greek choreographer Fokas Evangelinos devised the concept for the opening and closing ceremonies and is spearheading the creative elements of the ceremonies. Evangelinos' concept for the ceremonies is the well-known story of Odysseus and his courageous journeys - a rather fitting concept since it mirrors the courageous journeys of the intrepid athletes that will be competing in the games.

For more information, visit

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ancient Greek Warship Olympias Could Sail the Hudson River

The ancient Greek warship known as a trireme was instrumental in helping the Greeks defeat the Persians in the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE. Though images of the trireme appear on painted vases and carved reliefs, archaeologists have never found actual remains of this iconic ship. Scholarly curiosity impelled a Cambridge classicist and the chief naval architect for Britain's Ministry of Defense to research and reconstruct a full-scale model of the trireme in the 1980s. The reconstruction, named the Olympias, is 120 feet in length and weighs 55,000 pounds.

Today, a group of devoted fans of ancient Greece are rallying to restore the Olympias, correcting several flaws in the original design and refurbishing it, with the hope that they will be able to row it on the Hudson River next year. Once in New York, the trireme would require 170 rowers and about $275,000 in repairs. The knowledge scientists would be able to gain from conducting tests on it in water, however, would be very valuable to scholars, particularly in the creation of computer models of ancient battles.

Trireme in New York City, Inc., the corporation spearheading the project, hopes to bring the Olympias to New York in late spring or early summer of 2012.

For further information, as well as links to videos of the trireme in action, please visit:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Photo Competition: Thessaloniki 2012

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Thessaloniki, IANOS bookstores is organizing a photography competition open to amateur photographers and/or Thessaloniki lovers.

The theme of the on-line competition, titled Thessaloniki 2012, is the spirit of Thessaloniki as depicted in the urban environment and everyday life. The year 2012 celebrates the 100th anniversary of the city's liberation from Turkish control.

Photographs can be submitted to the competition site until February 10, with the on-line voting starting the following day and through March 10.

The 100 photos with the most votes will be features in the catalogue and exhibition to follow. A selection committee will decide up on the three winning photos.

Greek National Tourism Organization: You in Thessaloniki (video)

To submit a photo of your own to the competition, or to view the other entries, please visit:

Source: Greek News Agenda

2011 Greek Oscar Nominees

Although this year’s Greek Oscar highlight is Dogtooth's nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, Greek presence on the red carpet does not stop there. Greek-American costume designer Mary Zophres, or Areti Maria Zapheiropoulos as her full name is, has been nominated in the Best Costume Design category for her work in Coen Brothers’ film True Grit.

Zophres is a steady associate of the Coen Brothers, and has also worked with Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone. This is her first Oscar nomination.

French-Greek composer Alexandre Desplat has also been nominated for his original music score in Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech.

Desplat was born in Paris to a French father and Greek mother and studied music with Greek-French avant-garde composer Iannis Xenakis. He has composed extensively for films, receiving many awards and three previous Oscar nominations.

Source: Greek News Agenda

Updates from the Acropolis Museum

As of January 28, the Acropolis Museum will remain open until 10pm every Friday, while its second-floor restaurant will be open until midnight, so that visitors can tour the unique exhibits or enjoy a menu of traditional dishes before the panoramic view of the floodlit Acropolis by night.

For more information about the Acropolis Museum, visit its website:

Source: Greek News Agenda

Restoration of the Erechtheion's Caryatids

On January 28, the Acropolis Museum began a restoration program for the caryatid sculptures on the exterior of the Erechtheion. Caryatids are female figure sculptures that act as column supports for a structure. The caryatids of the Erechtheion underwent restoration work without being removed from their display area, while a cutting-edge laser technology was used for their "reviving".

For the first time, visitors were able to view the restoration process in action. Conservator Kostas Vassiliadis explained the cleaning process to the numerous museum visitors, who jumped at the chance to witness a procedure that until recently had been taking place only in laboratories inaccessible to the public.

Source: Greek News Agenda

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Off the Coast of Evia, Undersea Treasures Discovered

Even from ancient times, Greece has had a very rich shipping history. Today, scientists continue to find artifacts of the Greek seafaring legacy in the undersea ruins of ancient shipwrecks. One such shipwreck, located off the coast of Evia, has been the subject of a major collaborative project between the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and the Hellenic Institute for Marine Archaeology. Findings such as Brindisi amphorae, vases used for food, and small parts of copper life-size statues and other remnants suggest that the ship was used for transporting valuable items, possibly sculptures in whole or in parts.

The wreck was originally discovered in 2007 off the resort town of Nea Styra, in the southern part of the island of Evia, at a depth of 40 to 45 metres. Work on the project ceased temporarily in 2010, but is expected to recommence again in 2011.

For more information on the Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaology:

Source: Greek News Agenda