English Greek Turkish


The Movie

Political Background

The Cast

The Crew



Our News

From the Press



Contact Us


From The Press

Movie stirs passions

A FILM about forbidden love in has stirred passions on the ethnically partitioned island, with its showing at the Venice Film Festival this week embroiled in a row over funding.

Citing a contractual breach in a sponsorship deal, the Cypriot government has withheld funds for the 123-minute movie Akamas due to be screened in Venice on Saturday.

Its director says the move smacks of political censorship - which the government denies - because he defied calls to cut a controversial scene.

The movie, the first Cypriot entry at the festival, is the story of a Turkish Cypriot man and a Greek Cypriot woman defying family disapproval and war to stay together.

"I would describe it more as an epoch," says Greek Cypriot director and producer Panicos Chrysanthou. "They love one another through it all, and end up living on their own in a village everyone else abandons."

The movie blends in elements of 's turbulent history, including a Greek Cypriot uprising against British colonial rule in the 1950s, inter-communual violence between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and Turkey's invasion of the island in 1974 after a brief Greek-inspired coup.

But incensing authorities, the film includes a scene where Greek Cypriot guerillas fighting British rule execute a suspected traitor in a church. The script which the government approved had it occurring in a coffeeshop.

"They asked me to remove the scene and if I didn't I would not get any more money," said Chrysanthou. "They also sent me a letter saying that they don't approve of the public showing of the film, which is basically saying 'don't show it,'."

Chrysanthou says the government capitulated to complaints by former guerilla fighters worried the film portrayed them in a bad light.

Killings of suspected collaborators by the EOKA fighters' movement did occur, but remain to this day a taboo subject among a community which regards the guerillas as independence heroes.

Authorities do not deny they had asked for the church scene to be cut. "The director has violated the contract ... therefore the Education Ministry cannot respond to demands for additional financing," a government statement said.

The original script had the killing in a church, which the government asked to be changed to the coffeeshop and Chrysanthou agreed to that, one official source said.

Chrysanthou said he told authorities he reserved the right to keep to the original script if he saw fit. "They are attempting to control thought. People of the arts produce ideas, and they are acting as though I am one of their subcontractors," he said.

Authorities had given 120,000 to the project, but would not pay the remaining balance of 15,000 or help promote the film, the official said.


From correspondents in Nicosia


Top | Back | Contact Us | Home