A Tribute to Michael Cacoyannis in the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing

06.7.2016

On October 11th, 2012, the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing commenced its tribute to Michael Cacoyannis. The tribute was a collaborative effort organized by the Embassy of Greece in Beijing, the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Beijing, the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, and the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation.  
 
The Central Academy of Drama is revered as the finest of its kind in all of Southeast Asia.  Its elite students are carefully selected based on extremely high standards, as these students constitute the new establishment in the country’s new and promising generation of cultural achievement.    
 
The tribute to Michael Cacoyannis lasted a full week: from the 11th to the 17th of October.  Apart from the screenings of the emblematic films of the director that appointed the new cultural connection of Greece to the rest of the world, a photography exhibition of defining moments from the filming of his movies, was also presented.  
 
In the opening event, that consisted of the screening of the film, “The Trojan Women”, the salutation of Kostas Tzavaras, the Deputy Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sport, was read aloud in Greek (with a simultaneous translation into Chinese).  The Ambassador of Greece in Beijing, Theodoros Georgakelos; the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus in Beijing, Ioanna Mallioti; the Assistant President of the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, Hao Rong; and the Head of International Relations of the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Alexandra Georgopoulou, who traveled to Beijing under invitation from the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus, to represent the Foundation at this significant event, were the guests that addressed salutations (in this respective order).
 
All the speakers emphasized the value of the work and Michael Cacoyannis’s personality, the significance of the realization of this tribute in such a prestigious space as the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, and the mutual benefits of the bilateral cultural exchanges.
 
More specifically, the speech of the Ambassador of Greece in Beijing focused on the following: 
• The significance of the screening of movies by a major director/producer, such as Michael Cacoyannis, in China,
• Michael Cacoyannis’s in-depth, cultural sensibility
• His relationship with literature, ancient language and modern literature, which is evident in the origins of his inspiration for many of his films,
• The excellent collaboration of the two Embassies, the Foundation, and the Academy,
• The timeless and intimate relationship between the Embassy of Greece with the Central Academy of Drama,
• The excellent achievements of the Foundation in continuing the work of its founder
 
The Chinese audience that happily accepted the invitation to view, for the first time, the films of Michael Cacoyannis, repeatedly filled the cinema hall and broke into enthusiastic applause at the end of the screenings.  The audience’s enthusiasm indicates that Michael Cacoyannis’s work is timeless and continues to enrapture and captivate the audience.  
 
On the next day, the 12th of October, Alexandra Georgopoulou organized a seminar to the students of the Department of Film and TV Arts of the Central Academy of Drama of Beijing, on the topic of the life and film of Michael Cacoyannis.  
 
The seminar focused mainly on the approach and direction of the tragedy genre, specifically in the film, "The Trojan Women". The fact that all the students showed great interest in the rendition of Ancient Drama, one of our nation’s greatest cultural creations, proved to be of great importance.