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AFI research collection
Reference Type book
Title Greek Cinema Across Melbourne; Behind the Scenes
Author(s)Peter Yiannoudes
Town Melbourne
State VIC
Country Australia
Publication Date 00-00-2010
Citation Date
Comments Peter Yiannoudes was responsible for being a key player in the establishment of a Greek Cinema in Australia. In 1956 he took the rights to screen Golfo, and signed a deal to be an exclusive distributer of Finos Films in Australia, from there he developed into one of the most prominent figures in foreign film distribution in Australia.

Touring his films around the country, in venues ranging from cattle stations, to mines, to town halls and theatres; Yiannoudes established Cosmopolitan Motion Pictures. He was able to purchase dedicated affluent venues to screen his Greek films.

Aside from the physical challenges he faced, this book discusses the notion and importance of cinema as a medium, the importance of home grown sources for a diasporic audience, and the comfort it brings as it bridges the physical distance.

Yiannoudes discusses the effects of SBS television on attendance to films, and the challenges facing the quality of Greek films.

Comparatively he analyses the facets that films with longevity, such as Golfo, and The Nazi’s Strike Again, hold against the driven demand for the lighter hearted, and less confronting yet widely consumed films produced today.

The development and technical advancements in film, from the late 50’s onwards is discussed in detail, and the calibre of films distributed today pose an issue of concern for Yiannoudes, and in an autobiographical fashion he alludes us to a bygone era of the heyday of Cinema in Australia, and the demand by a mass Hellenic migration to establish a medium of communication accessible to all. (Elia Lom)

Greek Cinema Across Australia written by Peter Yiannoudes is a first hand account of a man who essentially was the founder of Greek and other Mediterranean film shown here in Australia. This man who had a strong love of film and cinema before making the move across from his homeland of Greece, brought the needs and wants of migrants in the 50s and 60s, to the forefront, in a way never seen before.

On p.97 of his book he dedicates a page to the Empire Theatre, Sydney Road, Brunswick.

Here he speaks of the period in which his company Cosmopolitan Motion Pictures, ran and screened varying non English spoken films, mostly in Greek, however Turkish and Indian too.

He speaks fondly of his time at the Empire, and consistently refers to it as ‘his’ or ‘ours’, insinuating a collective effort made by a section of the Greek community. Through this, gives rise to a real sense of community spirit and a combined love affair with their work, at the Empire but across the board too.

This particular part of the book refers to films actually shown at the theatre reiterating the passion Yiannoudes had for his mission to screen Greek film in Australia. He contends:

“In the following week, on 11 February 1966, the cinema screen a repeat of the film ZORBA THE GREEK of Michael Cacogiannis…which was extremely successful.” p.97.

This book highlights a period unlike the rest of the Empire’s life span, and shows that how after half a decade the Empire was undoubtedly still a success.

Yiannoudes book looks in other facets of cinema in Australia not usually heard of such as Turkish film, p.174, and Yugoslav film, p.175.

For any person wanting to know more about this side of Australian cinema that they may have never considered, this book is an excellent snap shot of this as it sums it up in a positive and well rounded manner.

Synopsis From book blurb: "This book celebrates the 50 years of my prescence and work in Australia in the area of entertaining business for the Greek-Australian community and beyond. It also manifests the pleasure I had in working with people in Greece, Cyprus, Australia and New Zealand in order to promote Greek Cinema as an important aspect in the life of Greek migrants, especially during the post-World War II period, when the chain migration movement from Greece and Cyprus to Australia reached its highest point. With this book, I record, evidence and bring to the attention of interested people unknown stories in the entertaining business in Australia and New Zealand. For Greek migrants of the late 50's and 60's, watching Greek movies was not just a way of amusing themselves, but a way of staying in touch with their homeland, its language and culture. "
tags: 50s and 60s Brunswick Cinema and Migration  Empire Greek Cinema Hellenic  SBS  Turkish Film 
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