Greece is a paradise for the cinephile. The reason is simple. In Greece movies are not dubbed! They are shown in their original language. The exceptions are some movies for small children, but even in Disney productions it is certain that some cartoons will have sub-titles.
Greek film has picked up pace. Thessaloniki’s International Film Festival has gained recognition as Southeast Europe’s pre-eminent forum for the screening of new films; more than 150 films compete for the prestigious awards every year. With a tradition that spans from the Oscar-studded performance of Katina Paxinou in “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, to Elia Kazan’s Hollywood reign, to Kostas Gavras’ Oscar-winning “Z” and Michalis Kakogiannis’ Oscar-packed “Zorba the Greek”, Greeks dazzled America and Europe alike. Theo Aggelopoulos, who won the Golden Palm award at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, with his “Eternity and a Day”, made new inroads to international audiences. Boulmetis’s “A Touch of Spice” and Voulgaris’ “Brides” (executively produced by Martin Scorsese) followed suit.
The majority of the movie theaters in Greece have been completely renovated, while in the past ten years or so, many theater complexes have opened in the larger cities, showing the latest blockbusters as well as older movies. There are also halls and cinema clubs for those who have more specific cinematography interests.
During your stay in Greece, do not forget to attend at least one of the hundreds of summer cinemas that can be found throughout the country. This will be a unique experience since the summer open-air cinemas are one of the more popular recreations for Greeks during the spring and summer months. At the same time, it is an integral part of the cultural identity of the country and remains in the memories of many generations.
Summer cinemas are found in every Greek city and in many coastal regions. They operate in open areas (rooftops of buildings, empty plots of land, parks, etc), and are usually encompassed by small natural or artificial gardens with trees, such as honeysuckles, bougainvilleas and jasmines, and the ground is covered with fine pebbles. The audience can enjoy soft drinks or alcoholic drinks as they watch the film under the star-filled sky, as there are small tables situated next to the canvas chairs, which makes you feel you are sitting in an open-air bar. In recent years, more and more summer cinemas are opening their doors. They differ architecturally from the old classical cinemas as they provide more comfortable seats, modern equipment, their “cafeteria” has a wider selection, and the floors are wooden instead of pebbles.