The 2023 Greek Film Festival, an annual celebration of Greek cinema and culture presented by the Greek Community of Melbourne, will present two poignant tributes that promise to add depth and significance to this year’s program.

GFF this year pays homage to the legendary actress Irene Papas and commemorates the 80th anniversary of a somber historical journey titled ‘From Thessaloniki to Auschwitz: 80 Years’.

Kisses to the Children – by Vassilis Loules. Photo: Supplied

Tribute to Irene Papas: A Greek cinematic icon

Irene Papas, an actress of unparalleled talent and international acclaim, will be celebrated with a special screening of the 1961 classic film ‘The Guns of Navarone’.

Papas, who also achieved worldwide fame through her roles in iconic films such as ‘Zorba the Greek’, ‘Z’, and passed away in September 2022.

Her classic Greek beauty and ability to portray complex characters were the perfect fit for ancient Greek tragedies.

The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports paid tribute to Irene Papas, describing her as “majestic, stately, dynamic, the personification of Greek beauty on the cinema screen and on the theatre stage, an international star who radiated Greekness.”

From the film My People. Photo: Supplied

‘From Thessaloniki to Auschwitz: 80 Years’ – A historical commemoration

This year’s festival also marks the 80th anniversary of a harrowing journey that began in Thessaloniki and led to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The tribute, ‘From Thessaloniki to Auschwitz: 80 Years’ focuses on the tragic events surrounding the deportation of Jewish residents from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz during World War II.

It sheds light on one of the darkest chapters in world history.

The festival will present three documentaries and one feature film, all dedicated to honoring the memory of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki, which was once home to one of the world’s largest Sephardic Jewish communities.

Still from the film Cloudy Sunday. Photo: Supplied

These films include:

  • ‘Cloudy Sunday’: A love story set against the backdrop of 1943, where George and Estrea find refuge in the historical Ouzeri Tsitsanis.
  • ‘My People’: A heartwarming exploration of a young woman’s quest to uncover her family’s history.
  • ‘Mauthausen’: A poetic documentary based on a new interpretation of Mikis Theodorakis’s and Iakovos Kambanellis’s ‘Mauthausen Cantata’.
  • ‘Kisses to the Children’: A poignant film not just about the Holocaust but also about childhood in the shadow of the Holocaust.
Still from Mauthausen. Photo: Supplied

The Greek Film Festival, presented in Victoria by the Greek Community of Melbourne, will be showcased across Palace Cinema Como, Palace Balwyn Cinema, and the Astor Theatre from October 19 to 29.

For the festival’s full program and additional details, please visit the official website: