Mikis Theodorakis. Composer A film by Asteris kutulas & Klaus salge

From the heights of his 85 years, the dramatic Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis takes the viewers on a journey through 70 years of his prolific musical career. He talks, demonstrates, analyzes and unfolds the inspirations of his works. The film is using a plethora of archive films which illustrate his explanations. Pictures from his childhood, his love of Crete and the island’s influence on the melodies he wrote, his experiences of release and total freedom: once after he returned from exile and moved to Paris in 1954 and the other when he escaped to Paris from the Régime of the Colonels in 1970.

Written & Directed by Asteris Kutulas & Klaus Salge / Artistic assistance & Translations: Ina Kutulas / Camera: Michalis Geranios, Stelios Efstathopoulos, Dionyssia Kopana, Matthias Seldte, Marcus Lenz, Ute Badura, Asteris Kutulas / Editor: Barbara Toennieshen / Light: Nikos Papathanasis / Graphics: Jan Schlösser / Colorist: Matthias Behrens / Sound: Spiros Aravositas, Klaus Salge / Sound Mix: Martin Grube / Executive Producer: Brigit Mulders / Producer: Klaus Salge / Commissioning ARTE Editor: Caroline Auret / Novemberfilm, 2010

TV premiere: May 9th, 2011 - ARTE (Germany & France)

Mikis Theodorakis with Myrto Theodorakis, Gustavo Dudamel & Guy Wagner (All photos © by Asteris Kutulas)

The film is the first to take the complete musical work of composer Theodorakis as its main theme. It reveals his oeuvre as surprisingly little known. The multifaceted portrait was created in the awareness that consideration of Theodorakis will always go over and above his person and creative activity. In this regard the film is, in the best sense of the word, a sketch. It highlights a unique body of work in musical history.

Mikis Theodorakis, Gewandhaus Leipzig, 1985 (Photo © by Privatier (Asti Music)

In slightly under an hour, the chronologically structured documentary gives a concentrated overview of Theodorakis‘ seven-odd decades of artistic creation – from the first songs and the Kassiani liturgy of a young Theodorakis, over the chamber music pieces and „Sinfonietta“ of the forties and the „Suite Nr. 1 for Piano and Orchestra“, amongst other works from his Paris years, to the wide-ranging song writing of the sixties, the Canto General Oratorio, the Symphony No 4, the Rhapsodies for guitar and cello and the operas.

Photo © by Asteris Kutulas

The artist’s extremely eventful life is depicted in its symbiotic relationship to his compositions. Neither the music, nor his life, are presented without the context of European-Greek history – this forms the backdrop to which they unfold, revealing a panoramic image of their complexity. The film approaches the phenomenon that is Theodorakis by letting the composer expound and letting the music and images speak for themselves. Without comment or explanation, but, instead, in a spirit of participation, this is a cinematographic attempt to live up to the fascination of this wonderful man. Thoroughly authentic – such is the experience, and the discovery, of Theodorakis that this cinematic document presents.

Summary of the Telluride Film Festival about the film "Mikis Theodorakis. Composer" (at the Festival programme in 2012): "For many composers, working with directors such as Michael Powell and Jean Renoir and writing the scores for films including ZORBA THE GREEK, SERPICO and Z would be crowning achievements. For Mikis Theodorakis, one of the 20th century’s major composers, such credits are barely more than footnotes to a stranger-than-fiction life. Born in Greece and living under occupations and dictatorships and even imprisoned, Theodorakis found ways to weave modern techniques with melody, making music that stands in contrast to the sometimes cold dissonance of his contemporaries. In his own words, Theodorakis recounts his remarkable life, his artistic triumphs, the years of intense social upheaval and his hugely influential political career. –JD"

A production of November Film, in co-production with ZDF, in cooperation with ARTE

Die Dokumentation "Mikis Theodorakis. Komponist" gibt einen konzentrierten Überblick über Theodorakis' über sieben Jahrzehnte währendes künstlerisches Schaffen. Der Bogen erstreckt sich von den ersten Liedern und der Kassiani-Liturgie des noch jungen Theodorakis über die Kammermusikwerke und die Sinfonietta aus den 40er Jahren, die erste Suite für Klavier und Orchester und andere Werke aus seiner Pariser Zeit, das umfangreiche Liedschaffen der 60er Jahre, das Oratorium "Canto General", die vierte Symphonie, die Rhapsodien für Gitarre und Cello bis hin zu den Opern.

Fast 30 musikalische Beispiele, von denen jedes für eine Schaffensperiode steht, machen deutlich, über welch breitgefächertes kompositorisches Spektrum Theodorakis verfügt, und sie öffnen die Wahrnehmung für ein gewaltiges Werk. Die außerordentlich bewegte Biografie des Künstlers steht in symbiotischer Beziehung zu seinen Kompositionen. Weder seine Musik noch sein Leben sind losgelöst vom Hintergrund der europäischen und griechischen Geschichte zu betrachten.

Der Film nähert sich dem Phänomen Theodorakis, indem er vor allem den Komponisten selbst zu Wort kommen und Musik und Bild für sich sprechen lässt: Er kommt ohne Kommentar aus und lässt sich vielmehr ganz auf den Künstler ein. Durch und durch authentisch - so ist Theodorakis in diesem Dokument zu erleben und völlig neu zu entdecken.

Featuring: Mikis Theodorakis | Henning Schmiedt & Berliner Instrumentalisten | Dimitris Chandrakis (Violin) | Thanassis Apostolopoulos (Piano) | Apollon Grammatikopoulos (Violin) | Angela Giannaki (Viola) | Angelos Liakakis (Cello) | Tatjana Papageorgiou (Piano) | St. Petersburg State Academic Capella Symphony Orchestra | Elli Paspala (Mezzo-soprano) | Dora Bakopoulou (Piano) | Ilse Liepa (Prima ballerina) | Bolshoi Opera Orchestra | Maria Farantouri | Petros Pandis | Julius Berger (Cello) | Istvan Denes (Conductor) | Franz Halasz (Guitar) | Hans Ulrich Kolf (Conductor) | Philharmonic Volkswagen Orchestra | Tzeni Drivala (Soprano) | Athens State Orchestra | Choir of the Greek National Opera | Lukas Karytinos (Conductor)

Thanks to Mikis Theodorakis, Margarita Theodorakis, Peter Hanser-Strecker, Rena Parmenidou, Dimitris Koutoulas, Iro & Giorgos Sgourakis, Yannis Katomeris, Nikos Koundouros, Liselotte Sievers, Stephania Merakou, Xenia Kaldara, Jörg Lutze, Privatier, Ludwig Binder, Volker Dornberger | "Heavenly Rivers" courtesy of Johanna Krumin (soprano) and Uri Rom (piano)

With the kind support of Romanos Productions, Schott Music GmbH, Breitkopf & Härtel GmbH, Archive of Margarita Theodorakis, Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Greek Film Archive, Theodoros Adamopoulos Archive, Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Film Archive), Megaron Mousikis (Athens Concert House), Archive of Mikis Theodorakis, Asteris Kutulas Archive, Music Library of Greece Lilian Voudouri

Music composed by Mikis Theodorakis | Published by Schott Music, courtesy of Schott Music & Romanos Productions | „First Symphony“ published by Deutscher Verlag für Musik, courtesy of Deutscher Verlag für Musik, Leipzig

A production of November Film | In co-production with ZDF | In cooperation with ARTE | © November Film 2011 | All Rights Reserved

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