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Greek filmmakers against the burning of Attikon cinema

14 February 2012 / 23:02:21  GRReporter
3673 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

"We are protesting against the actions of those fascists who want to determine our lives. We will not allow it, "said director Manousos Manousakis.

Today a protest took place in central Athens but its participants did not stop the traffic on Stadiou Street. About 20 members of the cinema guild in Greece gathered outside the smoke-blackened entrance of the Attikon cinema, which flared up during the Sunday night paranoia.

Despite the hopelessness aired by the fiery tongues that enveloped the building, the damage is after all not quite so disastrous and the cinema can reopen. The view outside is daunting. Empty holes instead of windows and black debris inside. The sidewalk is still soaked from the water that fire fighters rallied to save the historic building. The smell of burning is still in the air. Two fire engines are still on the street in front of the cinema because the fire could revive.

"We are here to protest against the burning of this historic monument - the Attikon cinema. Our protest is symbolic; it is directed against all damage that has been done to Athens. The Attikon cinema is one of the oldest cinemas in the city. The building, which was built in 1880 and is part of the cultural heritage and a beauty in the otherwise ugly centre of Athens, was destroyed. We are protesting against the uncontrolled actions of these fascists - no matter to which political extremes they belong, who want to determine our daily life. We will not let it happen," said the famous director Manousos Manousakis for GRReporter.

One of the most shocking findings in the two days after the night of the vandals is the fact that the majority of people in Athens, including filmmakers, are indifferent to whether the historic and beautiful building on Stadiou Street will turn into ashes and dust. "Here the new memorandum, which robs people's lives, was adopted. Shall we think about walls?" some said. "It's very strange why all the spotlights were turned on the Attikon cinema. It is by far the most beautiful building in Athens. There are many other buildings that the state has completely abandoned and no one has ever thought to protest about it, and now, this fuss about the Attikon," people posted in the social media.

"We responded to the call of the association of independent producers of audiovisual works to hold a silent and sad protest, because the three cinemas - Attikon, Asti and Apollo - played a significant role in the presentation of our films. We, the older members of the guild, are somewhat more attached to them. At the same time, our protest is an opportunity to send our sad message for all the problems of culture in Greece too," said the actor Lakis Komninos, who is also a producer and director.

Regarding the situation in Greece during the last two years, he said that he is one of the most pessimistic people. "If we remember history, we will see that the only positive thing is that after such a disaster and negativity in society, brilliant works in literature, theatre, and cinema generally emerge. I think the only comfort is the continuation of that story."

According to the police, one of those captured during the Sunday riots said he was a director by profession. I asked my interlocutors to comment on this fact. Their replies are very indicative of the condition of Greek society. "They all apparently have some work," said Manousos Manousakis. "In Greece, there are many people who say they are directors or even have a diploma for that. I heard there were different people among those captured, including those dealing with science. Unfortunately, there are plenty of them."
The protest ended, the participants left. Below the entrance of the Asti cinema saved from destruction for money, there was a light.

Tags: Attikon cinemaFireVandalsProtestFilmmakersAsti cinema
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