The Little Epidaurus, an open –air cinema for one night

The Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus opens its gates for the first time to cinema and of course this is happening with an extraordinary movie: “Electra” of Michael Cacoyannis. Transforming the monument into…an open air cinema, the multi – awarded movie will be projected on June 30 2018. The 8th Athens Open Air Film Festival of Athens signs the event with the collaboration of Athens & Epidaurus Festival. If you are in Epidaurus on that day and if you love the good cinema, do not miss the rare experience of enjoying the open – air projection of a multi-award-winning film in an ancient theater. A film, for which Eugène Ionesco wrote that it was the nicest he had ever seen.

If you want to learn more about the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus and the prominent the Asklepieion of Epidaurus, you should visit the virtual tour EPIDAVROS of YouGoCulture:

Built in the 4th c. B.C. in the ancient city of Epidaurus, the little theater is located few kilometers away from the archaeological site of the Asklepieion of Epidaurus and its "big" sister, the famous Epidaurus Theater, where the well-known homonym festival is organized every year. Thanks to the "Musical July" organized by the Athens & Epidaurus Festival in Little Epidaurus, as it prevailed to name the theater of Ancient (Old) Epidaurus, the latter has its own fanatical audience. The breeze of the sea, and the orange groves and olive groves that surround the Little Epidaurus, lend a sweetness sense to the monument that is preparing to welcome the sufferings of Electra. The tragic daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, who wanted to avenge her mother for the murder of her father. A crime finally committed by her brother, Orestes with her own encouragement and moral support.

Clytemnestra impersonated by Aleka Katseli in “Electra” of Michael Cacoyannis. © Greek Film Archive.

The myth
The myth of Electra starts with the ten – year Trojan War, the cause of which was the abduction of the beautiful Helen (wife of the king Menelaos of Sparta) with Paris (son of the king Priam of Troy). In the campaign against Troy, Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, was chosen to be the commander of the Greek forces, from whom it was asked to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia for the Greek fleet to have a kind wind. Clytemnestra never forgave her husband about her daughter's loss, and when he returned to Troy triumphant, she murdered him with her lover Aegisthus. It was the crime for which they were punished by Electra and Orestes.

Τhe great ancient poets Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus who gave us different versions that reflect the targeting of each one, involved with the myth. Michael Cacoyannis chose to transport to the big screen the Euripides tragedy "Electra", which was taught (played) in 413 B.C. and it is a story about people who are not driven by divine fatalism, but they live on the fringes and act on their own volition. Based on Euripides' speech, Cacoyannis creates his own emotional scenes, justifying Electra more. The heroes are more human and sympathetic, having the viewer watching with horror on the one hand the crimes of Electra and Orestes, but at the same time sympathizing with them when they are tortured for their matricide.

"The 8th Athens Open Air Film Festival of Athens came out with “Electra” of Michael Cacoyannis in the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus

Snapshot from the multi –awarded “Electra”. In 1962 the movie was awarded at the Cannes Film Festival for the best cinematic adaptation, won the Best Film, Direction and A Woman's Role prizes at the Thessaloniki Festival and it was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film.

The movie
«Zeus knows how dangerous the attempt was: the adaptation of an ancient tragedy for cinema is not something that can be played by the first ever fanatic of celluloid. It requires an acute artistic sense, extensive knowledge, deep familiarity both with ancient theater and modern cinema», wrote Henry Rabin in the French newspaper “La Croix” in 1962. It is no coincidence that the ancient Greek tragedy was transferred on screen by few directors. Cacoyannis succeed it, as shown by the many distinctions his film has received

Irene Pappas, embodies Electra “the physiognomy of whose is identical to Greekness - transforms a boyish tattered princess into a vindictive creature of raw, animalistic energy" the organizers noted. The music is by Mikis Theodorakis, who "signs a musical motif that fades the desperate cry of the title character". In the great advantages of that black-and-white film we add the photo director Walter Lassally. The cast includes Manos Katrakis, Aleka Katseli, Giannis Fertis, Notis Pergialis, Takis Emmanouil.

Cacoyannis’ "Electra" came out in 1962, the year that it swept the awards: best cinematic adaptation at the Cannes Film Festival, Best Film, Direction and A Woman's Role at the 3rd Greek Cinema Week (Thessaloniki Festival). That same year it was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film, and then it had a brilliant course at major international festivals.

"The Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus opens its gates for the first time to cinema with a projection of a movie that matches and respect the site

The Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus, 4th c. B.C. acquires fanatical audience with its own festival “Musical July”. © Ministry of Culture and Sports.
Information: Projection of the movie “Electra” of Michael Cacoyannis, Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus, Saturday June 30 2018. Starting at 21:30, free admission,
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8th Athens Open Air Film Festival
Athens Open Air Film Festival is a successful institution that both residents and foreign visitors of Athens love. This year's event is organized with the collaboration of the City of Athens Cultural, Sport & Youth Organization (OPANDA). The projections will take place throughout the summer in special corners of the city, archaeological sites, parklands, squares and some of the most beautiful museums and points of Athens, with free admission to the public.

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