“Before Midnight” Athens Premiere: Some things can still be good in Greece

The official premiere of Richard Linklater’s ‘Before Midnight’ took place last night at Athens’ Pallas theatre. The film’s director and stars were present, for an evening that was devoted to Greece’s more positive aspects.

The scheduled premiere of ‘Before Midnight’ at the open-air Cine Thisseio may have been cancelled because of unseasonably bad weather, but the movie was eventually shown at Athens’ Pallas theater. In attendance were Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, the film’s producers Christos V. Konstantakopoulos and Sara Woodhatch, and the mostly Greek film crew, which worked on the movie last summer in southern Peloponnisos.

The movie was introduced by Orestis Andreadakis, artistic director of the 2nd Open Air Film Festival, which ‘Before Midnight’ formally inaugurated. He praised the film and its importance for the Greek film industry.

Andreadakis was followed on the Pallas stage by Irene Souganidou, CEO of Feelgood Entertainment which will be distributing the film in Greece, and – in one of his rare public appearances – Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, the man behind production company Falliro House, without whose input ‘Before Midnight’ would never have been filmed and produced in Greece.

Clearly excited to be back in Greece, Linklater, Hawke and Delpy thanked the film’s Greek crew. Richard Linklater explained how, after visiting locations in Greece, there was not a doubt in his mind that he would film here. Julie Delpy reminisced about a previous disastrous trip to Greece years ago for an unrelated project, and explained how she experienced the happiest moment of her life while filming ‘Before Midnight’.

After the screening, all the members of the Greek crew took to the stage and Ethan Hawke went out of his way to thank them for their exceptional co-operation, praising Greece, which he claimed is capable of producing ‘the most beautiful things’.

None of this – not the unadorned reception which followed at the Acropolis Museum, not even Hawke’s and Delpy’s relaxed ‘at-home’ mood – would have mattered if ‘Before Midnight’ wasn’t one of the year’s best films, the perfect ending to a trilogy which, through the years, has come to symbolize the lost romanticism of a whole generation. Linklater was insightful and talented enough to realize that filming in Greece doesn’t necessarily mean showing sunny beaches and quaint tavernas, but rather allowing the landscape and the breath-taking scenery to speak for itself and permeate the story.

At a time when Greece needs to put its best foot forward, ‘Before Midnight’ resembles an antidote to the overlying misery, a healthy portrayal of Greece and a fresh breath of creativity for a country in a state of disarray, where cinema, in one way or another, remains one of the few things that seem to be moving in the right direction.

‘Before Midnight’ hits theaters on June 13.