First-Ever Greek Film with Sound Rediscovered in France and Restored

Still from film “The Apaches of Athens.” Photo credit: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation

An historic Greek film from 1930, thought for many decades to have been lost but which was recently found in France, has now been restored. A screening of the early “talkie” will premiere at the Stavros Niarchos Hall of the Greek National Opera (SNFCC) in February.

The black and white film “The Apaches of Athens,” which was discovered in the archives of the Cinémathèque Française, will return to the big screen with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), as a result of the collaboration between the Greek Film Archive Foundation and the Greek National Opera.

The film, by the brothers Gaziadis, based on Nikos Hadjiapostolou and Giannis Prineas’ legendary operetta of the same title, was the first-ever attempt to create a film with “sound and speech” in Greece.

Starring some legendary figures of the Greek music scene, including Petros Kyriakos, Mary Sayanou, Petros Epitropakis and Giannis Prineas, it was an extremely important link in the history of early Greek cinema. And it was thought to have been completely lost until just recently.

Poster for “The Apaches of Athens.” Photo credit: Stavros Niarchos Foundation

The key power of this filmed operetta lies in the lofty aesthetics of its filming, which splendidly records some of the most significant landmarks of Athens and its surroundings, while capturing the everyday life of the 1930s in the areas of Plaka, Psyrri, Agora, Thiseio, Gazi, Haftia, Syntagma Square, Omonia, Stadiou and Panepistimiou streets.

There are even scenes which were filmed at the Tatoi Palace.

This screening of The Apaches of Athens will be performed to live music, in an effort to restore the work’s original – and forever lost – soundtrack. After its first presentation at the Greek National Opera, the restored copy of the film will travel to major film festivals for early cinema across the world.

The world premiere of the restored copy of this seminal film will happen on Saturday, February 15th, at 8 PM local time, at Stavros Niarchos Hall in the Greek National Opera.

There will be free admission for those with priority vouchers. Musical accompaniment for the film will be provided by the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation Symphony Orchestra and Greek National Opera soloists. The conductor of the symphony is Anastasios Symeonidis.