Biography of Michael Cacoyannis (1922-2011)

Film director Cyprus, real name Mikhalis Kakogianis, born in Limassol (Cyprus) on June 11, 1922 and died in Athens (Greece) on July 25th.


Of Greek parents, he studied law at the Gray's Inn Law School of London and worked as a lawyer since 1948. Attracted since young theatre and cinema, he also studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama and followed a course in theatre direction at the Old Vic School, one of the most prestigious Theatre schools in the world. He then abandoned his career as a lawyer to work as a producer of radio programs for the BBC, at the time acting as an actor in the theatre. In the early 1950s he moved to Greece, where in 1953 he directed his first film, Kyriakatiko Xypnima, as reflected in the influences of the Greek classical theater and film by René Clair. In his following films, Cacoyannis went from comedy to drama of manners, the analysis of the Greek reality. His most dramatic works of this early period include Stella (1955), history of the struggle of a singer to break the rigid social barriers in its race to happiness, and To koritsi me ta mavra (1956), of strong influence of neorealist, which masterfully portrays the burnt landscapes of the island of Hydros.

At the same time realistic and poetic style reveals itself especially in the best and most famous of his films, Zorba the Greek (1964). Starring Anthony Quinn in one of his greatest performances, tells the story of the friendship between a young writer and Alexis Zorba, a strange and vitalista character who teaches him to enjoy life fully. The extraordinary soundtrack by Mikis Theodorakis became a classic and the image of Quinn dancing the sirtaki in the blinding sun of Greece turned to the world and became part of the history of the cinema. Irene Papas completed the cast.

The success of Zorba the Greek opened the doors of the international markets and given the possibility of direct British-funded irregular The day the fish came out (1967), which did not get the expected results. Among the rest of Cacoyannis production as director include its approaches to characters of Greek tragedy and mythology, as in Electra (1962) or the Trojan women (1971), in which puts day eternal punishment and crime issues in the context of contemporary Greece.


As director and screenwriter: 1953: Kyriakatiko ksypnema (and argument). 1955: Stella.1956: To koritsi ne ta mavra (and argument). 1958: To telefteo psema (and argument). 1960: Eroica (and producer). 1961: the woman in the room 251.1964: Zorba the Greek (and producer). 1967: The day the fish came out (producer and argument). 1971: the Trojan women (and co-producer). 1975: Attila 1974 (documentary; and comontaje).1976: Iphigeneia (and comontaje). 1987: Sweet country.