Showing results 1 - 12 of 17 for the tag: Films.

July 22, 2014

Preview screening of Promakhos – a film about the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 5:19 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

I was fortunate enough to be invited last week to a preview screening (essentially where they drum up intereste from possible distributors etc) for the film Promakhos, which I have already written about previously here.

The event was well attended, with Stephen Fry giving his thoughts on it afterwards and leadng a question & answer session with the two directors.

Marbles Reunited has already done a very good writeup of the event – so I won’t try & repeat their work, but will just give a summary of my own thoughts on the film.

Styled as a legal thriller, it follows the story of one person’s fight to use the courts to secure the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece. There are many dramatic scenes in it, and perhaps the most memorable part is where Paul Debevec’s superlative three-dimensional model of the Parthenon is broght to life in the room, as the people wander around it, stepping into a rebuilt past through the use of virtual reality glasses.

As you can imagine, things do not always proceed smoothly – yet the film’s protagonist manages to maintain his vision & despite the ups & downs remains focussed on the goal of securing the return of the sculptures.

The cinematography is magnificent, and for anyone who has ever spent time in Athens, prefectly manages to capture the spirat of the city, through othersise unremarkable details, in a way that perhaps holds far more of its modern day charm than many films, that only see things through the eyes of a tourist. There are various allusions throught the film to ancient Greece & aspects of mythology, helping to further anchor the present day story into the ethos of ancient Athens & to show the importance of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greeks.

The film is set against the backdrop of the financial crisis & the unrest that followed in Athens – and as such is very much of its time. However, that it just because it takes place now – the story that it is telling could largely be transplanted to any other time in the campaign for the return of the sculptures & would continue to make sense. It is not something that the British Museum can just ignore with the hope that it goes away.

There are a few amusing moments too – particularly, when during the cases, others highlight their own countries requests for the return of arterfacts from the British Museum.

The film is not on display publicly anywhere yet – in the meantime though, you can watch the trailer, to give you a flavour of what it is about.

Stephen Fry with one of the directors at the preview screening of Promakhos

Stephen Fry with one of the directors at the preview screening of Promakhos

May 14, 2014

The Athenian Acropolis as a movie backdrop

Posted at 12:57 pm in Acropolis

In recent years, there has been much debate about the decision by Greece’s government to make it easier for commersial filming to take place on the Acropolis.

These decision to free up the access to the site appear to be gradually producing visible benefits, with new films using the backdrop of the Parthenon as a key part of their story.

Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst in ‘The Two Faces of January’

Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst in ‘The Two Faces of January’

From:
Independent (Ireland)

Cinema Reviews: ‘The Two Faces of January’
Cert 12A

Padraic McKiernan, Hilary A White, Aine O’Connor – Published 11 May 2014 02:30 AM
Reviewed this week are ‘The Two Faces of January’, ‘In Bloom’, ‘A Thousand Times Goodnight’, ‘A Winter Chill’ and ‘In Secret’.

With a title that bears reference to a two-faced Roman god and a stunning backdrop that takes in some of Ancient Greece’s most famous ruins, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to read there’s a certain mythic quality to the story that unfolds in director Hossein Amini’s engaging thriller.
Read the rest of this entry »

April 7, 2014

Stealing culture was around well before the Monuments Men

Posted at 12:52 pm in Similar cases

The film Monuments Men has drawn attention to one small episode in the dishonourable history of looting artefacts. the reality is of course, that it is something that has gone on for thousands of years & still continues today, albeit more covertly than at some points in the past.

Its great that a film highlights a topic like this, but we shouldn’t see it as an isolated incident – a one off aberration that relates to a different time & place.

Scene from the film Monuments Men

Scene from the film Monuments Men

From:
Statesman (Texas)

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, April 5, 2014
‘Monuments Men’ highlights WWII looting, but stealing culture has been around for ages
By Melissa K. Byrnes

Special to the American-Statesman

George Clooney’s latest movie, “The Monuments Men,” takes viewers on a beautifully filmed journey through Europe in the last years of the Second World War. The plot follows a group of western Allied soldiers charged with saving the masterworks of European civilization from the retreating Nazis — and the advancing Soviets. Where, though, did this fascination with cultural heritage begin?

Cultural artifacts have long been seized as prizes for military victory. This tradition can be traced back to the myth of the Golden Fleece, stolen by Jason and his Argonauts. The celebratory stone tablet of Naram-Sim was seized by the Elamites around 1250 B.C., later claimed by 19th-century French excavators and now sits in the Louvre. Homer recounts the Greek sacking of Troy, while the Bible tells of Nebuchadnezzar raiding the Temple of Solomon.
Read the rest of this entry »

March 4, 2014

Would Britain stop modern day Monuments Men?

Posted at 2:03 pm in Similar cases

The film Monuments Men has already featured a number of times on this site, even prior to the comments by the lead actor about the return of the Parthenon Marbles.

This article looks at whether such an initiative would succeed today. I have to say, that I don’t entirely agree with their conclusions though, as the actions depicted within the film took place largely outside of any existing legal frameworks. This said though, I still struggle to see why Britain refuses to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention on the protection of artefacts during armed conflicts.

Damaged Shiite Mosque outside Samarra, Iraq, 2006

Damaged Shiite Mosque outside Samarra, Iraq, 2006

From:
The Conversation

28 February 2014, 6.04am GMT
British government thwarts modern day Monuments Men

We study the past to understand the present and to help shape the future. A society without a memory is a dysfunctional society. And much of a society’s memory is encapsulated within its cultural property – the physical remains of the past – its books, archives, art, historic buildings and landscapes, and its archaeological sites. Lose that cultural property and you are very close to losing collective memory.

George Clooney stars in and directed The Monuments Men. Critical consensus agrees that it is not a very good film, but it does raise a very important and contemporary topic – the protection of cultural property during conflict.
Read the rest of this entry »

February 16, 2014

Promakhos trailer – a fight for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 11:57 pm in Elgin Marbles

Just a few days after I last wrote about the filming of Promakhos, one of the directors got in touch with me, to let me know that the first trailer of the film had now been posted online.

The film is about a legal challenge over the Parthenon Marbles. This is an interesting dimension to the issue, as it is something that has often been raised as a possibility by campaigners & very credible cases have been put forward by a number of high profile lawyers (not least the father of the directors of this movie), but it has always been something that the Greek government has steered well clear of having any involvement with.

Having read the script a couple of years ago, I’m very eager to see the completed film once it is out later this year.

Matt Damon, Bill Murray & George Clooney on Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 11:43 pm in Elgin Marbles

More coverage of the comments made by some of the stars of the film Monuments Men, on the return of the Parthenon Sculptures.

George Clooney & Bill Murray

George Clooney & Bill Murray

From:
Independent

George Clooney hits back at claims he does not understand Britain’s right to Elgin Marbles
Star responds to criticism at press conference to promote his latest film ‘The Monuments Men’
Ian Johnston
Tuesday 11 February 2014

George Clooney has hit back at suggestions that he does not understand Britain’s right to the Elgin Marbles because he is an American, as the row between Hollywood and Westminster escalated with Matt Damon and Bill Murray also weighing in.

On Saturday at a press conference in Berlin to promote his new film The Monuments Men, Clooney said he thought the marble sculptures taken from the Parthenon in Athens by the Earl of Elgin in the 19th century should be returned to Greece after a question from a Greek journalist.

That prompted John Whittingdale, the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, to tell The Independent on Sunday that Clooney might not know about the UK’s “legal entitlement” to the priceless artefacts partly because “he’s an American”.
Read the rest of this entry »

February 11, 2014

George Clooney on the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 2:02 pm in Elgin Marbles

More coverage of George Clooney’s statements about the Parthenon Marbles & how he believes that they should be returned to Greece.

George Clooney

George Clooney

From:
Guardian

George Clooney backs return of Parthenon Marbles to Greece
Actor says it would be “very nice” if the British Museum reptriates ancient frieze removed by Lord Elgin in 19th century
Maev Kennedy
The Guardian, Sunday 9 February 2014 20.16 GMT

George Clooney has strolled into one of the most bitter and longest-running controversies in the heritage world, saying it would be “very nice” if the British Museum sent the Parthenon Marbles back to Greece.

Clooney, at the Berlin Film Festival promoting The Monuments Men, the story of an Allied team trying to save artefacts from the Nazis, was asked by a Greek reporter whether Britain should return the Marbles.
Read the rest of this entry »

February 10, 2014

George Clooney thinks Britain should return Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 12:15 am in Elgin Marbles, Marbles Reunited

The book & now the film of Monuments Men have been covered a number of times already on this website.

Now that the film is out in the cinemas, others have also made the connection between the stories it describes & that of the Parthenon Sculptures.

At a recent press conference, George Clooney was asked by a journalist about whether he thought that Britain should return Greek artefacts (a clear reference to the Parthenon Sculptures). He stated that he felt that Greece had a very good case to make, and that is would be a very fair thing to happen if they were returned.

George Clooney, Star of Monuments Men

George Clooney, Star of Monuments Men

In response to this, the the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, John Whittingdale, suggested that Clooney didn’t know what he was talking about & that “There’s a very strong view in this country that they should stay in the UK”. Clearly, he has not seen the results of the previous polls organised by the BCRPM & Marbles Reunited a few years ago, which indicated an overwhelming level of support amongst people who were well informed about the issue.

You can see a video of the actual question here:

From:
Independent

George Clooney believes Britain should lose its Marbles
Ian Johnston
Sunday 09 February 2014

Hollywood actor George Clooney has called for the UK to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, saying it is “the right thing to do”.

Clooney was speaking at the Berlin Film Festival yesterday during a press conference for his film The Monuments Men, which tells the story of a team sent by the Allies to try to save artefacts from being stolen by the Nazis.
Read the rest of this entry »

February 6, 2014

Promakhos – a movie about the Parthenon Marbles, Justice & Greece

Posted at 2:15 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

John Vorhees is an US based lawyer who I have known for a number of years now as a campaigner for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens.

Last year, he introduced me to his sons John & Coerte, explaining that they intended to make a film about the reunification of the sculptures and were looking for actors to fill the lead roles.

Filming on the project started last month in Athens, for what promises to be a very interesting film, highlighting one approach that could be taken to handle the restitution of the sculptures.

Promotional image for the Promakhos movie

Promotional image for the Promakhos movie

You can view the website for the film here. For the most up to date information, follow the facebook page that they have created for the film.

More information about the cast is available on IMDB.

View the trailer for the movie in a separate later post I made here.

November 7, 2012

Monuments Men – the people who saved the world’s artefacts from Hitler?

Posted at 9:14 am in British Museum, Similar cases

Monuments Men was originally a book by Robert M. Edsel, soon to be made into a film by George Clooney.

The story is based around people at various museums, who during the second world war did anything in their power to protect as many of their artefacts as possible from potential seizure by the Nazis. Now, in its own way, this is admirable behaviour – although I think a distinction needs to be made between protecting the artefacts – and just not wanting someone else to have them – thus enriching their culture rather than your own. Many of the items that were “protected” were removed from other countries in times of war – and these earlier removals were seen as entirely acceptable, while at the same time, we tried to stop the same thing from happening to them again. Many times, the excuse has been given for the removal of items such as the Parthenon Marbles, that had the British not takes them, Napoleon would have. Looking at it another way though, is this different from walking past a shop that has the door open at night & robbing it before someone else does, rather than closing the door & helping to secure it?

I’m sure that most of the monuments men had entirely admirable intentions – I just have trouble reconciling some of their behaviour & the reasoning behind it, with that of their predecessors – that the same action by one person can be right, when it is wrong by another.

From:
Get The Big Picture

Monday, October 29, 2012 at 7:06AM
Some Dude Named Clooney Snags Steve Zissou & Galadriel for Next Movie

Say what you will about George Clooney (and I really don’t have anything negative to say about the guy), but he has a pretty good eye when it comes to picking projects, be it for acting or directing. I’m a fan of the movies he’s directed (especially Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). He’s not flashy, workman like I would say, but outside of Leatherheads, the guy has delivered. His next project might be another win for the Cloonster and he’s bringing Bill Murray & Cate Blanchett along for the ride.

The movie is called Monuments Men (based on a book of the same name by Robert Edsel) and while it’s another movie set during World War II, this one has a really interesting premise:
Read the rest of this entry »

April 12, 2012

3D film about the history of Acropolis at the Acropolis Museum

Posted at 12:56 pm in New Acropolis Museum

The New Acropolis Museum will be displaying a 3D film about the history of the Acropolis Monument. Note that there is an additional charge for this, on top of the normal entry fee for the museum.

From:
Greek Reporter

Acropolis Museum Will Show 3D Film Regarding History of Monument
By Fani Toli on January 30, 2012 in Events, News

A Virtual Theatre in the new Acropolis Museum has been created in order to present films and documentaries with 3D animation regarding the history of restorations of the four monuments of the Acropolis.

The screening of the film ‘Acropolis in Antiquity’ will begin on the 4th and 5th of February at the Hall of Virtual Reality. The film was completed under the guidance of the Acropolis Restoration Service.
Read the rest of this entry »

March 28, 2012

George Clooney’s new film highlights the issue of looted Nazi art

Posted at 1:11 pm in Similar cases

George Clooney’s new film, “The Monuments Men”, is about the true story of looting of artworks by the Nazis, along with Hitler’s reasoning behind this, in his attempt to create the greatest art museum in the world.

This is an issue that is still a major problem today, as people try & untangle the true ownership of many artworks, so anything that gives the story more of a public prominence will hopefully help to raise the profile of ongoing cases.

The film is based on Robert M. Edsel’s book, “The Monuments Men.”

From:
Artlyst

Date: 08 Jan 2012
George Clooney Highlights Stolen Nazi Art
New film “The Monuments Men” starts pre- production in LA

A film directed by Hollywood A- lister George Clooney has started pre- production in LA this month. The film is based on the book “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History,” by Robert M. Edsel. It is about Adolf Hitler’s attempts to steal the most important art in Europe and set up the worlds greatest museum, in Berlin. His armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: “degenerate” works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Momuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis.

Clooney will be writing, directing and starring in the film, a co-production along with his partner, Grant Heslov. Clooney stated at the Palm Springs Film Festival on Saturday; “I’m excited about this project, It’s a fun move because it could be big entertainment. It’s a big budget, you can’t do it small, it’s la anding in Normandy.” “I’m not opposed to doing a commercial film, I’m just opposed to doing a commercial film that doesn’t feel organic to me. So if we’re going to do a commercial film we thought, ‘Let’s do something that seems exciting and actually has something to say.’”
Read the rest of this entry »