The diary of a travelling cinephile
Greece – the magic journey through film
With a rich and resounding history, it is almost impossible not be charmed by this land. The Romantics were inspired in creating some of their most important writings by the Greek culture and history. Keats, Byron, Shelley, and many more, dedicated important parts of their writings to Greece. Thus, for many years this country broadened the horizons of some of the world’s most creative people. We also can find an impressive number of filmmakers who chose this land as a playground for their films.
What better way to travel and see the world when the mobility is restricted, if not through films?
Peloponnese – Before Midnight
One of the most beautiful films for travelling cinephiles is the Before trilogy, directed by Richard Linklater. The films seem to build the cities around the main characters, and this help us to feel closer to the film’s action and the beautiful locations. The last film of the trilogy, Before Midnight, shows Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy now in their roles as parents. We find out about their past 9 years of their lives while they walk in Peloponnese in southern Greece. We are bewitched by the Greek landscape. Visiting this peninsula, you can not only step on the footsteps of the two lovers, but you can also visit a number of archaeological sites like the Mourzinos castle. The rocky edges of the peninsula allowed the formation of hidden beaches, perfect for intimate and quiet moments, as the protagonists enjoy.
Skopelos – Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia! is the perfect film to determine you to visit Greece. With a plot based on the ABBA songs and a Greek landscape in the background, it makes it easier for you to put Skopelos island on your traveling list. Close to Skhiatos island, Skopelos is just a ferryboat distance away. Located in the Aegean Sea the island blends the rocky sides with beaches which invites you to relax, and it’s like an invitation to reconnect with nature and yourself. Donna’s (Meryl Streep) hotel is located on the wonderful Glysteri beach. You can walk on fine sand, while you listen to Our Last Summer on the same beach the three alleged dads Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgård walked, and feel like you are part of the film.
Nysiros island – Window to the sea
The magical island of Nysiros, with its smoky volcano, was the perfect background for Miguel Ángel Jiménez’s Window to the Sea. The film tells us the story of Maria, played by Emma Suárez, who after receiving some life changing news, decides to visit the island to take a break from the challenges of Bilbao, where she resides. The calm, and quiet of the streets, and beaches, with the volcano in the background, create a heavenly atmosphere. Maria found love on the island which makes her hopeful, and trustworthy of those around her.
Evia Island – Triangle of sadness
The pandemic doesn’t stop filmmakers to continue bringing stories and places together from all over the world. Swedish director Ruben Östlund (awarded and acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival) chose Evia Island for his next project specifically for its resemblance to a jungle. The island perfectly blends the dense forests with the beaches and rocky areas.
Although it’s the second biggest island in Greece, and close to Athens, it’s not very well known. The island offers a variety of enjoyable moments like the thermal baths from Edipsos, mentioned by Aristotel and Plutarch, the Museum of Archaeology of Eritrea which shelters urns and ancient sculptures of significant cultural importance. If you are looking for peace and quiet, this is the place.
Aegina – Man of God
We cannot talk about Greece without mentioning the close relationship between the people and religion which has its roots in antiquity. The ancient Greeks built temples to show respect and devotion for their gods. Although the time has passed the situation hasn’t changed much, there is an impressive number of churches and monasteries which should make it on every traveller’s list.
In Yelena Popovic’s Man of God, which is due to premiere in 2021, we can follow the hardship journey of Saint Nectarios from Aegina. Because of Saint Nectarios and his miracles throughout his life and even after death, Aegina island became a place of pilgrimage. You can visit the Holy Trinity Monastery founded by the Saint, which provides tranquillity and peace. Another excellent place for inspiration, and why not, for a film set, is Kolona hill with Apollo’s temple.
Filmmakers see in Greece the perfect film set due to its sceneries, beautiful locations, and rich history, which give not only visual pleasure but also depth to their stories and characters.
Thanks to films we can be closer to the places we love and want to explore in the near future. Film O’Clock International Festival is a celebration of films and Greek land, and also a chance to visit Greece through the filmmaker’s points of view.