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The Greek Jedi of Star Wars

26 December 2015 / 14:12:41  GRReporter
2834 reads

Christmas found most people in their homes, and some others - in a restaurant with family or friends. But there were a few thousand in Greece who had a different idea about how to experience Christmas Eve. They decided to go to the cinema and see the new Star Wars film on the first day of screenings.

The 10 years since the last film, as well as the return of the main characters from the first trilogy, combined with lavish critical praise abroad sparked extreme impatience among fans of the universe created 40 years ago by George Lucas. It is known for a fact that Star War fans are the most fanatical movie community in the world.


Yannis Iatridis

"With me, it was a conscious design that Santa Claus should find me in the cinema watching Star Wars. I got my ticket for the screening at 22:00," said Yannis Iatridis for Ethnos. "My expectations were really high," Yatridis admits. Although he watched the movie on its first day in Greek theatres, he was a little disappointed about not having seen it even earlier, especially at last week's special screening. "My friends had obtained tickets and were fanning them in my face," laughs Yannis.

Star Wars is something you have to experience in other peoples' company. If it is large and its members share a love of the series, then it's even better. That's why 200 people decided to hire a whole cinema on December 24, and watch the film together. "We only left the first and last rows vacant in case someone else came," says Yannis Paraskevopoulos, owner of the Fantasy Shop store in Exarcheia who managed the big group, booked Hall 4 of Aello Cinemax and went to see the movie dressed as Darth Vader.


Yannis Paraskevopoulos and friends

Ever since he was six

In 1977, when the first film came out, Paraskevopoulos was 6 years old. "I was living in Germany back then, and the film became extremely popular there from the very beginning. In Greece, it took us a while to figure out its strength." The film actually gave Paraskevopoulos a career direction. One thing leads to another, he says. Initially he was a fan, then became an employee of the Fantasy Shop, and wound up as its owner. "Star Wars catapulted me to the place where I am today."

Apart from being a Star Wars fan, Andreas Pefanis is a fanatical collector of memorabilia from the series. He is well aware that the most valuable specimens must remain in their packages and be carefully stored. So he stashes them in cabinets, some of them are in his office. He is the owner of Comicworld in Korydallos where he can keep an eye on other collectors as well. "The question is whether you can maintain your desire to have it all under control. I know a great deal of people who, back in the time when credit cards were easy to come by, were shopping like crazy to build up massive collections and now are still paying for it," says Pefanis and admits that he himself paid €1,000 for a Darth Vader costume.


Andreas Pefanis

What is it that has for 40 years been turning Star Wars into a cultural phenomenon, so that now the series nurtures a third generation of fanatical followers? Spaceships and lightsabers have something to do with this, but there is a lot more as well. The main reason is that this simple story gets stuck in your mind. Star Wars shares the classic model of a medieval novel. On one side we have the evil knight in black, and on the other is the good knight in white, the princess, the old teacher, etc. says Paraskevopoulos. Pefanis adds: "The key ideas from Star Wars are something we see across all types of narratives. It is the centuries-old battle between good and evil and how the good always has the upper hand. Star Wars is about the good and about humanity."

A film for... collectors

The Star Wars universe is just perfect for collectors. Those who are interested in memorabilia related to the series – from character figurines to lightsabers or games – there is a huge choice for them out there.

Tags: Star Wars Jedi Greece Yannis Iatridis Yannis Paraskevopoulos Andreas Pefanis
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