Pantelis Kodogiannis, the star of the much discussed film Promakhos, which is expected to premiere in the coming weeks, gave an interview during which he touched on the film’s plot, how he believes the audience will react to the film, as well as his hope that Promakhos will constitute yet another stepping stone in the ongoing efforts to reunify the Parthenon Sculptures.
Pantelis, I would firstly like to ask you how you feel about Promakhos being released in Greek cinemas and how you expect the audience to react to the film?
I am very proud and happy the film will be coming out in Greece at the end of November and I hope the Greek audience will watch the film and become informed on its subject matter. It is also my hope that the following message comes across: it’s time for us Greeks to show our appreciation of our ancient culture and to contribute to the efforts for reunification of the monument.
In the past you have mentioned that you have much in common with the character you portray in the film.
I used to be a Wall Street lawyer before I got into acting and while studying at university I also did some research on the subject of the Parthenon Sculptures. It is something which has preoccupied me both from a legal and cultural standpoint.
So would you be able to undertake your character’s task as a lawyer in real life?
Not exactly, because to legally undertake such a task would require backing from various bodies of the Greek government.
Do you mean that the Greek government hasn’t addressed the issue of the Parthenon Marbles?
I don’t think there’s been a uniform campaign incorporating various sectors (scientific, legal and political) to date.
Are Greek-Americans, and I am referring to the younger people of your generation, familiar with the history behind the Parthenon Sculptures?
There are many who know the history but there are also those who are not familiar with the facts behind their acquisition and I believe the film informs the audience of these facts.
it’s time for us Greeks to show our appreciation of our ancient culture and to contribute to the efforts for reunification of the monument.
What inspired you to abandon a promising career as a lawyer for acting?
I will always be a lawyer. I have my degree. I don’t believe people are one-dimensional, they can do many things in different areas. Acting has always been a dream of mine and something I have wanted to pursue. And for me personally it is a great honour to be the leading actor in the first film to deal with a subject that touches the global Greek community as well as supporters of Ancient Greek civilisation around the world.
What is your opinion of Greek cinema in its current form today?
In recent years I think it has taken a different turn, exhibiting more originality, given Greek film standards. I am very optimistic about the Greek film industry and its potential. I believe the current financial crisis has helped inspire stories in Greek cinema such as our film and Alexandros Vranas’ Miss Violence which received awards at the Venice and Stockholm film festivals. There have also been other films which are ahead of their time such as Dogtooth and Boy Eating the Bird’s Food.
Though you were born in the USA you speak Greek fluently. How did you manage that?
It was hard, but I try. I have travelled around Greece all my life and my parents always spoke Greek at home. I also studied the ancient Greek language.
What message would you like to send to the Greek public?
Given that the film shows the crisis-stricken Athens of 2011, I would like to extend a message of optimism to the Greek public. The message being that we will succeed and I hope the film encourages us to re-acquaint ourselves with our identity and our values both as a nation and as a culture
Source: New Greek TV
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