Tribute and honorary Golden Alexander to Nikos Perakis

64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival [2-12/11/2023]

Tribute and honorary Golden Alexander to Nikos Perakis  

The 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival (2-12 November 2023) is honoring one of the most unique and daring voices of contemporary Greek cinema, beloved Greek director Nikos Perakis, by bestowing an honorary Golden Alexander award for his contribution to cinema. Also, the Festival is organizing a five-movie tribute that brings forth his outstanding work both as a film director and a production designer. 

The 64th TIFF’s tribute sheds light to the multitalented Nikos Perakis: his gifted and singular directorial gaze and his contribution as a production designer to emblematic films of Greek and world cinema. It also brings forth the identifying features of his personal filmmaking universe, such as subtle irony, tragicomic situations and disoriented heroes who find themselves trapped in a suffocating entourage.

Responsible for bringing a breath of fresh air to Greek comedy and having excelled in wry political satire and the portrayal of absurdism in modern society, Nikos Perakis made his first steps in the film industry in the 60s after studying Costume and Stage Design at the Munich Fine Arts Academy. Following his military service in Greece, in the Armed Forces Television unit, Nikos Perakis returned to Germany to work as a set and production designer in the fields of cinema, theater and television. It was at that time that he made his first steps as a director, in the beginning of the 1970s, during the growth of New German Cinema. Nikos Perakis was working as a director, while continuing his exciting work as a production designer. He collaborated with some of the biggest names in Greek and German cinema, like Volker Schlöndorff in the Foreign Language Academy Award and Palme D’ Or winning film, The Tin Drum, and Giorgos Panousopoulos and Yorgos Tsemberopoulos in beloved Greek films. 

In the framework of the Festival, the  Laboratory for the Study of Greek Cinema & Television (EMEKT) of AUTh’s Film School will host a colloquium dedicated to Nikos Perakis, with the participation of important academic personalities.

The 64th TIFF’s tribute showcases four films directed by Nikos Perakis and is coupled with an unforgettable film directed by German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff, which sheds light on Nikos Perakis’ work as a production designer. 

The Tin Drum (1979) is an adaptation of the allegorical novel by Günter Grass and is a valuable heritage for cinephiles everywhere. In Germany in 1924, Oskar is born. On his third birthday, just before the impending rise of Nazism, he receives a red tin drum as a gift from his parents. Oskar refuses to grow up, as a sign of protest against the hypocrisy of those around him and the irrationality of the adult world. Through his eyes, the audience will witness defining moments of German history, while the tambourine will become his only means of expression. Nikos Perakis, who was in charge of the film's production design, remembers: "Most of the time I was travelling because I had to recce all locations with Volker, then sketch the sets and come back with the final drawings for the local colleagues, who had the supervision, and be back for the finishing touches and deliver the set before the crew arrived for the shooting."

The idea for the surrealist comedy Bomber & Paganini (1976) came to the director from Alexander Kluge, one of the authors of the Oberhausener Manifest (1962), considered the founding declaration of the Young German Film, and which was followed in 1966 by the "Working Community Of New German Film Producers" and in 1967 by the "Film Funding Law", which was the beginning of dozens of subsidies and grants from federal, national, municipal, television, and many other organizations. One evening at the U.L.M. kitchen table, Alexander referred, among other legal curiosities, to an exercise for law students where a paralyzed guy sees a treasure chest in a field and directs his blind friend to the spot, where he picks it up. Who is the owner of the treasure? Kluge invited Nikos Perakis to join the U.L.M. and introduced him to ZDF as a screenwriter, director and producer, personally taking over a bank guarantee - roughly the size of the production costs - for the filming of his first film Comrade Housemate. Bomber & Paganini are the nicknames of the protagonists, who during a tragically failed burglary, Bombas loses his light and Paganini is paralyzed. Condemned to do everything together, the blind Bobas - a former boxer and drummer - pushes Paganini's wheelchair through the infamous streets, while the paraplegic ex-violinist becomes his navigator. Waiting for a miracle to happen, they find themselves in front of  a golden opportunity: It seems that their former gang is planning a heist and Paganini devises a risky plan that will solve all their problems...

Arpa Colla (1982) is the first Greek-language film shot by Nikos Perakis and draws inspiration from autobiographical elements - earlier he had also shot the English-language Milo-Milo in Milos (1979). After investing fortunes and time in their less popular films, two young directors are forced to make a living in commercials or in film criticism, but hope to return to cinema. They visit producers or talk rich friends into investing in their talent. Arpa Colla is the visualization of their shared unrealized visions...

Living Dangerously (1987), one of the sharpest and most imaginative creations of Greek cinema, embellishes the timeless and incurable pathologies of Greek society. The audience of the 64th Thessaloniki Film Festival will have the opportunity to enjoy the film in terms of universal accessibility for all viewers, as part of the Festival's program with accessibility sponsor Alpha Bank. The film will be screened with AD: Audio Description for the blind and visually impaired and with subtitles for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing [SDH: Subtitles for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing]. On the morning of the final for the soccer World Cup, Karamanos, an employee of TOE - Telecommunications Organization of Greece - connects his commander's personal computer to a devilishly complex and explosive device. He threatens to blow up the floor and the satellite dishes if he is not allowed to appear on the national network 10 minutes before the football match to denounce all the wrongs that plague the life of the Greek citizens and make them a victim of a partisan and corrupt state…

Cool (2007) presents the end of bliss and the sudden adulthood of a generation of young people, through the parallel, and often interwoven, stories, and the common fortune of the main characters during a 24-hour summer day, from behind prison bars to the escalators of the Venizelos Airport, and the beaches of the Saronic Gulf to the pasture lands of Mt.Psiloritis in Crete.