Masterclass: “Magical City” and “A neighborhood named Dream”: The refugee districts as the opposite of the “idealized” city of the domestic film industry.

Very soon after the end of the Civil War, the Greek cinema was put at the service of tourism development and, at the same time, of instilling a Western-oriented mentality in the inhabitants of the city. Gradually, a commercial circuit of cultural product production is established according to the terms of a capitalist system, a faithful copy of Hollywood specifications. Athens presents itself as a modern, European city. Neo-realist films that denounce the idealized urban lifestyle projected by the domestic commercial cinema are very few. But, even in these, both the Asia Minor Campaign and the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the exchange of populations are glossed over. But not completely. Two documentaries show a large part of the population, the Asia Minor refugees, living in squalid conditions in tin and cardboard shelters. even forty years after their persecution, driven again to the outskirts of the city. The Magical City (1954) by Nikos Koundouros and The Neighborhood named Dream (1961) by Alekos Alexandrakis compose a very important historical testimony, denouncing, silently, and through the image of the refugees’ poverty, the institutional criminal indifference of decades.

Instructor: Afroditi Kairaki

Event’s date: August 23 2023

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