Showing results 1 - 12 of 583 for the tag: Greece.

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

July 9, 2014

Greece needs a new Melina Mercouri to spearhead the Parthenon Marbles Campaign

Posted at 12:55 pm in Elgin Marbles

George Vardas from Australians for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, writes about how a new figure with the charisma & public appeal of the late Melina Mercouri is needed to lead Greece’s campaign for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.

Greece's Deputy Minister for Culture, Ms Angeliki Gerekou

Greece’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Ms Angeliki Gerekou

From:
Neos Kosmos

“We need another Melina”
The Greek Culture Ministry and the campaign for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures
26 Jun 2014
George Vardas

Just over a year ago the then newly-appointed Culture Minister in Greece, Panos Panagiotopoulos, announced with considerable fanfare a new Greek initiative on the Parthenon Sculptures: a strategy based on convening a mediation under the auspices of UNESCO at which the British and Greek authorities would meet to attempt to reach a resolution of this long standing cultural dispute.

Some commentators, including this writer, were sceptical about how the British would react, as mediation requires both sides to enter into negotiations in good faith. Mr Panagiotopoulos was adamant that this was Greece’s official position and sought support for his stance from the various overseas national committees. In due course a formal request for mediation was sent to the British side by the UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bukova, and we waited to see what the British response would be.
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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.
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May 3, 2014

Rhodes offers to host Clooney’s wedding in thanks for Parthenon Marbles support

Posted at 9:28 am in Elgin Marbles

In a somewhat unusual move, the village of Paradisi on Rhodes has offered to host George Clooney’s wedding there in thanks for his support for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.

Clooney & his fiancée Amal Alamuddin have yet to comment on this offer.

George Clooney & Amal Alamuddin

George Clooney & Amal Alamuddin

From:
Greek Reporter

George Clooney Invited to Tie the Knot in Rhodes
by Ioanna Zikakou – May 1, 2014

A local association in Paradisi, a village in Rhodes, Greece, has sent a letter of invitation via the U.S. Embassy to George Clooney, inviting him to get married in the region.

Without wasting any time, the Cultural Association of Paradisi “Agia Marina” wrote a letter to the U.S. Embassy, in which it invites the famous Hollywood star to get married in a church in Rhodes, while the letter also suggests the George Clooney’s best men should be villagers from Paradisi. As they said, they consider him to be “one of us.”
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April 29, 2014

Swiss Committee for the Return of Parthenon Marbles organises talk in Zurich

Posted at 12:49 pm in Elgin Marbles, International Association

A followup to the earlier post about Dusan Sidjanski’s talk on the Parthenon Marbles.

Dusan Sidjanski of the Swiss Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures

Dusan Sidjanski of the Swiss Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures

From:
Greek Reporter

Swiss Committee on the Return of the Parthenon Marbles
Apr 19, 2014

The president of the Swiss Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles, Professor Dusan Sidjanski, during the event titled “Europe and the Parthenon Marbles: a common cause,” stressed the need for return of the marbles to Greece.

In his speech, Dr. Sidjianski referred to the Swiss Committee’s concern for the legal claim of the return of the Parthenon Marbles, stressing that this is considered a European issue which needs to be resolved through dialogue between the European institutions as well as through informing the public and especially Britain.
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April 25, 2014

Greece’s economy might be rebounding, but the Parthenon Marbles have yet to return

Posted at 12:52 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

A common excuse given by supporters of retaining the Parthenon Sculptures in the UK, is that the time is not right for them to return. The New Acropolis Museum opened during the middle of one of the worst financial crises to affect the world in recent years & for some, their words carried some weight. Surely now though, when Greece is re-issuing government bonds & the remnants of the years of riots are being repaired, this is the ideal time to rebuild Greece’s culture, by righting a historic wrong?

Acropolis Museum in Athens

Acropolis Museum in Athens

From:
Bloomberg News

Athens Lacking Only Elgin as Windows Erase Crisis: Cities
By Marcus Bensasson and Nikos Chrysoloras Apr 24, 2014 5:27 AM GMT

The marble paving stones have been relaid in Athens’s Syntagma Square, the site of pitched battles between police and protesters during the worst of Greece’s economic crisis.

Yannis Stournaras has replaced his sixth-floor window overlooking the square. It was pierced by an errant bullet during one of the riots in 2010.
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April 17, 2014

Evangelos Venizelos speaks out on Parthenon Marbles issue

Posted at 12:51 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

PASOK leader & Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos is no stranger to dealing with the Parthenon Sculptures issue. He has been quiet about it in public though, since he lost his position as Culture Minister after Nea Demokratia took power in the 2004 general election.

Today though, he had the opportunity to speak to the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg, about the return of looted cultural artefacts, where he mentioned both the case of the Parthenon Marbles, as well as the various more recent cases that have arisen in Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish occupation.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos

From:
Famagusta Gazette

Greek FM refers to destruction of Cyprus’ cultural heritage in occupied north
Thursday, 17 April, 2014

Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking before the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state, referred to the need to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece and the damage that Cyprus` cultural treasures have suffered since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

He said that the new directive regarding the return of cultural objects is clearly improved compared to the one that existed since 1993 and it will be an important instrument in handling illegal trafficking of cultural artifacts, which is one of the widely used forms of organised crime.
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April 16, 2014

Is removing an act of vandalism vandalism? – AKA the Banksy Paradox

Posted at 1:06 pm in Similar cases

Had I just seen the first story, there would have been a different take on this, but juxtaposed with another story that also appeared today, it raises far more questions.

The first case is not the first time that Bristolian street artist Banksy has become the topic of this website. In the previous instance, the controversy involved the owner of a wall removing the artwork that had appeared on it one night. The local residents complained, even drawing parallels to the Parthenon Marbles. While the case raised other issues though, the person who did the removing had a legal entitlement to do so, as it was their own wall.

This case however is a clear cut instance of Elginism. The person who removed it is claiming that they had a right to do so because it was in a public place, but now they are claiming it as their own & planning on selling it to raise money. I’m not sure in what way this can not be construed as theft. If don’t own something & you take it, the law is fairly clear cut that this constitutes theft.

However, the second article raises the question of what is vandalism. Since a few years before the start of the financial crisis, the levels of graffiti on walls in Athens has massively increased. Walls that were once pristine & respected have become noticeboards of conflicting political ideologies & poorly thought out solutions to the problem. Many of these are vandalism plain & simple, but they have none the less been documented by people, as one of the most indelible records of the change in the city as the crisis took hold. Now, the social messages in some of the better executed pieces are being analysed further – the works have in effect crossed the same boundary that Banksy did, where vandalism becomes art.

Now – it is worth pointing out that this is a very fuzzy boundary. For some people, it is clearly art, while others continue to maintain the view that the perpetrators should be prosecuted. It is intriguing though how this boundary shifts – Other than his fame / notoriety as an individual, what defines the artistic merit in Banksy’s work that makes people angry when it is destroyed, versus the works of a barely known Greek protester that are routinely scrubbed from walls by municipal workers?

"Access Control," a mural by the Greek street artist iNO on Pireos Street in Athens

“Access Control,” a mural by the Greek street artist iNO on Pireos Street in Athens

From:
Independent

New Banksy art ‘Mobile Lovers’ removed with crowbar, hoarded in youth club
Christopher Hooton
Wednesday 16 April 2014

Banksy’s latest official artwork, being dubbed ‘Mobile Lovers’, has been prized off a Bristol wall by an opportunistic local with a crowbar.

Broad Plain Boys Club manager Dennis Stinchcombe removed the image of a man and a woman distracted by their smartphones from Clement Street, believed to be on plywood, and hopes to sell it for hundreds of thousands of pounds.
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April 11, 2014

Early Day Motion on UNESCO Mediation for Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 12:54 pm in Elgin Marbles

I only just noticed this, even though it happened some time ago. Labour MP Alan Meale has tabled an Early Day Motion, to highlight the UK Government’s current inaction over Greece’s proposals for mediation over the Parthenon Marbles under the auspices of UNESCO.

Previous posts on EDMs explain the purpose of Early Day Motions.

From:
Parliamentary Information Management Web Site

Early day motion 861
PARTHENON MARBLES (UNESCO MEDIATION PROCESS)
09.12.2013
Meale, Alan

That this House recalls that Greece has continuously, since it gained full independence in 1832, requested the return of the sculptures removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin and held in the British Museum since 1816; is aware that this dispute has been on the agenda of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Promotion of the Return of Cultural Property since 1987; notes that the Director General of UNESCO has recently written to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and the Director of the British Museum to advise them of Greece’s request for the dispute to be settled by mediation; and calls on the Government and the British Museum to co-operate fully and positively in the mediation process.

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April 3, 2014

Summer opening hours for Acropolis Museum

Posted at 1:00 pm in Acropolis, Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum

Previously I mentioned the new opening hours for the Acropolis. The New Acropolis Museum will also be switching to its summer hours.

One think I really like, is that unlike many places in mainland Europe, the museums are open on Mondays, albeit for shorter hours than normal.

Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum

From:
Kathimerini (English Edition)

Thursday April 3, 2014
Leading Greek museums and sites extend visiting hours for new tourist season

A number of the country’s archaeological sites and museums inaugurated extended visiting hours on Tuesday in view of the upcoming tourist season.

The Acropolis and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Crete’s Knossos, Santorini’s Akrotiri and the sites of Ancient Olympia and Delphi in the Peloponnese were among a group of 33 museums and sites set to operate on the new spring-summer schedule – daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – through the end of October.
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April 2, 2014

Unfortunately, the previous post on UNESCO mediation was not accurate

Posted at 12:01 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

As many may have spotted, yesterday was April 1st. As a result of this, some of the items I posted, may not have been entirely accurate.

Much as I (and many others) want the British Government & British Museum to enter into the UNESCO mediation process, thus far, there has been nothing except silence from them.

I should also note that Pillory Dour & Henna Biltong are entirely fictional characters, and that any resemblance of them to people working for the British Government & British Museum is entirely coincidental.

So, to make the previous post become reality, more needs to be done to encourage the Government to accept the mediation request. At the moment, they are ignoring it, because they feel comfortable taking this course of action. So, write to your MP, raise awareness, publish stories publicising the lack of response, so that eventually they might feel more inclined to take action.

April 1, 2014

British Government agrees to UNESCO mediation for Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 12:01 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Last year, the Greek government made the announcement that they had approached UNESCO, about inviting the UK to enter into mediation over the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures. The Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Country of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation sets out a series of rules, that such mediation should follow, although the case of the Marbles would be the first time it had actually been implemented.

Many naysayers suggested that despite this new initiative by Greece, the British Government & British Museum would not consider entering into such a procedure, as there was nothing in the rules to compel them to do so and no time limit for them to reply to the request.

There was also the issue, that in all previous requests, the British Government pointed out that such requests were a matter to be dealt with by the trustees of the British Museum, whilst the trustees would point out that they would not be legally allowed to de-accession the sculptures, under the terms of the British Museum Act 1963.

Now, in what many involved with the case have suggested is an unexpected move, the British Government have responded to Greece’s minister of culture, indicating that they are happy to enter into mediation immediately. Under the UNESCO rules, the mandated timescale for the process to be completed in is one year, meaning that the issue of the Marbles could be resolved by 1st April next year, if not before.

The issues of the Marbles being a matter for the British Museum to determine were also noted by the government in their initial response, where they explained that whilst this has been the case in the past, it is really more of a political shorthand for noting that they are uninterested in resolving the issue, noting that as the museum is largely funded by the government, they do in fact have the ability to exert a large level of control over it & would do their utmost to ensure that the Museum was fully represented during the negotiations and to enforce whatever actions were agreed to at the end of the process.

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

From:
Department for Culture, Media & Sport

Notice of intention to enter into mediation with an aim to swiftly resolve the Parthenon Marbles issue
April 01, 2014

The British Government would like to notify Greece that we have accepted their invitation to enter into mediation via UNESCO, over the issue of the Parthenon Marbles.

Previously issues have been raised over whether we had jurisdiction over the British Museum, and there are still many question marks over this. However, in the interests of progressing the resolution of this long standing embarrassment to the British people, we are jointly going to co-operate with the trustees.

We acknowledge that the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures are a unique case, and, as such we are happy to do whatever it might take to resolve the issue.

Further updates will be posted on our website in due course.

Pillory Dour
On behalf of the International Cultural Property Unit, Department of Culture, Media & Sport

From:
British Museum

British Museum agrees to Greek Mediation proposal
April 01, 2014

Following a request from the Department of Culture Media & Sport, the British Museum has agreed to work in partnership with the government to satisfy Greece’s requests for mediation over the Parthenon Marbles issue.

This is not a decision that we were able to take lightly, but we realise it was a move that we had to make. We have gradually come to understand that issues such as this are not going to go away, and accept that we need to make more effort to try & resolve them, in the interests of maintaining the current levels of co-operation with countries such as Greece.

Various surveys have shown that our continuing retention of the sculptures is out of sync with public opinion. For a long time, the trustees hoped that this was a one off blip in the statistics, but we are now resigned to the fact that our continued retention of the sculptures is hurting our public image as world class museum.

We with Greece the best of luck with the mediation, and over the next year, will be able to tell you more, as the process unfolds.

Henna Biltong
Head of Press, British Museum