Following on from their documentary Athens from East to West, 1821–1896, which was shown at the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture in 2020, the director, screenwriter and curator Maria Iliou, and the historian Alexander Kitroeff, bring public images of Athens (photographs and film clips) back to the city, which they unearthed over several years in archives in America, Europe and Australia that are not usually open to the public.

The historical documentary and exhibition are important because they showcase unfamiliar images of Athens, and because through them their creators offer up a new narrative on how Athens and the Athenians experienced five wars and a National Schism over a period of just twenty-five years.

Experts from Greece, Europe and America talk about the history of Athens, while Despina Geroulanos, Philippos Mazarakis-Ainian, and others share personal and family stories that took place in the city.

Also participating in the documentary are Roderick Beaton, Alexander Kitroeff, Marina Lambraki-Plaka, Jim Wright, Nikos Vatopoulos, Christina Koulouri, Sir Michael Llewellyn Smith, Kathleen Fleming, Lambros Liavas, and Artemis Skoumbourdi.

The photographs and film clips are from the archives of the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration Washington DC, Harvard University, Princeton University, Getty, Boston Public Library, Sydney University, Stockholm Public Library, Pathé, Gaumont, Établissement de Communication et de Production Audiovisuelle de la Défense (ECPAD), Médiathèque du patrimoine et de la photographie, Paris, the Historical Archives and Photographic Archives of the Benaki Museum, the archives of the National and Historical Museum, the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive (ELIA), the Nikos Politis collection, and many other private collections.

For the film’s sound, the editor Aliki Panagi used period sound documents to bring the history of the city to life, while Nikos Platirachos composed original music for the documentary based on Athenian music and songs and hits of the era.

Photos: Buddy Squires; sound: John Zecca, Marc Mandler; sound mixing: Thimios Koliokousis. Production: Proteus & Proteus NY Inc.

The documentary and exhibition “ATHENS AND THE GREAT IDEA, 1896–1922” is the second of five segments focused on the history of contemporary Athens, with the remaining three to follow in the years to come. 

Documentary Screening Programme

Screenings for the public:

Every Monday (except 27/2 the first Monday of Lent and 17/4 Easter Monday): 10.00-11:30, 12:00-13:30, 14:00-15:30

Every Wednesday: 10:00-11:30, 12:00-13:30, 14:00-15:30

Every Thursday: 10:00-11:30, 12:00-13:30, 14:00-15:30, 17:00-18:30, 19:00-20:30, 21:00-22:30

Every Friday (14/04/2022 Good Friday: one screening only 14:00-15:30): 10.00-11:30, 12:00-13:30, 14:00-15:30

Every Saturday (except Saturday 25/3 due to the National Day and Easter Saturday 15/4: the first two screenings only): 10.00-11:30, 12:00-13:30, 14:00-15:30

Every Sunday (excluding 16/04/2022 Easter Sunday, a public holiday): 10.00-11:30, 12:00-13:30, 14:00-15:30.

Screenings for school groups (of up to 35), starting Monday 6 February 2023:

Every Monday and Wdnesday, 10.00-11:30

Reservations: Monday to Friday 10:00-14:00, Tel. 210 3671067

SCREENINGS for public groups (of up to 35), starting Thursday 2 February 2023:

Every Thursday, 17:00-18:30 and every Sunday 10.00-11:30

(Sunday 23.4.2023 at 10.00 there will be no screening for groups)

Reservations: Wednesday to Saturday 11:00-16:00, Tel. 6936753971