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Fellini Tribute Hits Big

Fellini Tribute Hits Big

Fellini Tribute Hits Big

by Dimitra Kessenides

A weeklong tribute to Italian master Federico Fellini wrapped up in Athens,
Greece on Tuesday night. Screening to sell-out crowds every night, the
retrospective of all but one of Fellini’s films points to a heartening
interest among younger film-goers in more than just the mainstream,
blockbuster Hollywood fare that fills most of the screens in the Greek

The brainchild of Michel Demopoulos, the retrospective first started on
October 3rd in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. The program
inaugurated the new, state-of-the-art movie theaters at Thessaloniki’s
recently renovated Olympion Cinema Center. “I thought it would mean so much
more to inaugurate this traditional and historic film center with the works
of a filmmaker who believed not only in the magic of film, but in the magic
of experiencing those films in a movie theater and not on television,”
Demopoulos says.

Beyond that, Demopoulos was confident that a Fellini retrospective would
draw in crowds of younger and older cinephiles alike. “There is this mythic
aura about Fellini among younger audiences [in Greece] in particular who
haven’t had the opportunity to see these films on a big screen,” Demopoulos
notes. And for older fans, there is the nostalgia of seeing the films
again, and the nostalgia of entering a movie theater and seeing wondrous
images fill a large screen, Demopoulos adds.

Not only did audiences have the opportunity to see the five-time Oscar
winner’s life work, but all but five of the films presented were newly
restored prints. (The retrospective was organized together with the Italian
Institutes of both Thessaloniki and Athens, and Rome’s Cinecitta, which
provided the new prints). While organizers were confident of the potential
for the program, attendance far exceeded their expectations. At screenings
of “La Strada“, “La Dolce Vita“, “8 1/2“, and “Casanova“, in particular, more than
150 people were turned away at each.

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