For its seventh summer season, from June to September, The Athens Open Air Film Festival will be jointly hosted by the City of Athens’ Organisation for Culture, Sports and Youth. The unique appeal of this festival resides in its selection of films, all of them classics in their categories and genres. But what makes this festival even more special is the choice of venues for the films’ projection: archaeological sites, small tree-lined squares, beaches and museum courtyards. Famous, beloved Athenian neighborhoods and gathering places become open-air cinemas for a single evening, imbued with the magic of the silver screen.
The programme for August
On Friday the 18th of August, in the pine-scented Panaitoliou Square of Nea Ionia – in the historic preserved monument with the distinctive architecture in the heart of the Alsoupoli neighborhood – the British Gothic classic “The Wicker Man” by Robin Hardy will be shown in its original version for the first time in Greece. On Wednesday the 23rd of August, the Festival brings the legendary film “A Passage to India” by David Lean to the National Archaeological Museum. And on Friday the 25th of August, Hector Babenco’s “Kiss of the Spider Woman” will be shown across from the Acropolis Museum on the pedestrian thoroughfare Dionysiou Areopagitou. All screenings in August will begin at 8 p.m.
In order to spread an understanding and love of astronomy to a wider audience, especially young people, The Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing has created a Visitors Centre at its facilities on Mt. Pendeli. In order to fulfill the Institute’s educational mission , the Visitors Centre hosts seminars, talks and nighttime observations using its historic Newall refracting telescope, while it also produces educational films on various astronomical subjects, which are presented to visitors during these organized tours.
The nighttime tours of August
From June until September, the Visitors Centre offers nighttime tours which involve presentations geared for the general public, films, observations with the telescope and uranography (mapping the heavens). During the rest of the year, the Centre organizes morning and midday tours focusing on observation of the sun. For the month of August, nighttime tours have been scheduled for Friday, August 4 & 11 and for Sunday, August 6 & 13.
One of Verdi’s most important operas is brought to life by the world’s leading singers – in one of the most beautiful open-air theatres of antiquity. Il Trovatore is presented by the Greek National Opera under the baton of Miltos Logiadis, the maestro and artistic director of the Athens Concert Hall, and here features such world-famous performers as: Walter Fraccaro, Cellia Costea, Dimitri Platanias and Yelena Manistina.
The Melodrama of Romanticism
The plot of Il Trovatore, replete with unexpected twists and passion, is expressed through the exquisite melodies in all of its musical parts – in the arias, duets and choruses which, both individually and together as a complete work, are well known even to those who may otherwise be unfamiliar with opera. Il Trovatore is truly one of the world’s most widely known and deeply loved operas.
An impressive production
Il Trovatore was first performed at the Herodion five summers ago, when it scored a resounding success. This summer, the artists who will be performing the leading roles, along with the rest of the production– sets, costumes and lighting – are preparing to reprise that earlier triumph, filling the Herodion for all four performances on July 21, 23, 25 and 27. In Italian, with Greek and English subtitles.
The Old Slaughterhouse on Hydra is the DESTE Foundation’s main exhibition space on the island. From 2009, it has hosted modern works by one or more artists, with a primary focus on highlighting the atmosphere and special nature of the space itself. This summer from July 20 until September 30, the DESTE Foundation is hosting the exhibition “FIGA” by the American artist Kara Walker, a work of sculpture which is expected to stimulate a great deal of discussion of its symbolism and possible meanings.
The Fist or (according to the artist) “The left hand of a Sphinx”
With the title “FIGA” and the artist’s further description “the left hand of a Sphinx”, Walker is attempting, through this emotionally charged gesture – a fist made of sugar – to create a “spiritual” work, a kind of pilgrimage for anyone looking for spiritual and material fulfillment at the end of a catastrophic journey, a kind of reward at the conclusion of a difficult and painful endeavor.
From New York to the Old Slaughterhouse on Hydra
FIGA, which was created in 2014 in Brooklyn and has now been brought to Greece, the birthplace of Western Civilization – and to the Old Slaughterhouse on Hydra – hopes to be transformed from a work of art to a holy relic. This transformation will slowly and surely culminate in the coating of the fist in a layer of sugar, a symbolic act (like the whole of the work itself) which serves to represent our loss of: home, country, ideology and faith, a loss which is the defining characteristic of our age.