This definitive cinematic interpretation of Sophocles’ immortal tragedy, Antigone begins the Hellenic Museum’s celebration of the golden age of Greek cinema, beginning Saturday 4 February. Georges Tzavellas’ directorial interpretation of Antigone’s incredible tale of woven love and fate vividly maintains the continued relevance of these ancient characters.

Continuing on in this theme of love railing against fate, modern tales A Matter of Dignity and The Lady and the Rascal explore the nuances of social mores and expectations under the spotlight of the battle between arranged and spontaneous love.

Lily of the Harbour, meanwhile, tells the story of star-crossed lovers, apt in its timing for a Valentine’s weekend, and features music from Academy Award-winning composer Manos Hadjidakis and striking ‘noir’ cinematography by Astridis Karidi-Fuchs.

The final film on Saturday 4 March is a return to ancient tragedy, laying bare Euripides’ Iphigenia and widely lauded as Michael Cacoyannis’ finest adaptation. Played out on an epic scale, Irene Papas as Clytemnestra delivers a career-defining performance.

The courtyard of the former Royal Mint building, that houses Australia’s Hellenic Museum, will come alive once again for this five-week long cinema program. Paying homage to the set-up of Athenian outdoor cinema, the garden pavilion will be transformed to cater to lovers of Greek cinema and cult classic movies. Once again the museum has worked closely with Greek cinema distribution pioneer Peter Yiannoudes in selecting the films.

The courtyard opens at 6.00 pm, where people can enjoy food from the Greek-style psistaria (wood-fired oven and grill) before and during the movie. The screening begins atmospherically at sunset.

Here’s the full Summer Cinema Program:

Saturday 4 February
Antigone (1960)
Rated M
Director: Giorgos Tzavellas
Actors: Irene Papas, Manos Katrakis
In this ancient tragedy by Sophocles, Antigone (Irene Papas) defies King Creon’s (Manos Katrakis) decree that her brother’s body should go unburied and therefore find no rest in the afterlife.

Saturday 11 February
A Matter of Dignity (To Telefteo Psema) (1958)
Rated M
Director: Michael Cacoyannis
Actors: Ellie Lambeti, Michalis Nikolinakos
Faced with bankruptcy, a high society family scheme for their daughter to snare an unwitting rich husband to save them from their plight. Academy Award-winning director Michael Cacoyannis deftly explores the nuances of social mores and Ellie Lambeti is at her finest as the privileged daughter walking a precarious tightrope.

Saturday 18 February
Lily of the Harbour (I Agnie tou Limaniou) (1952)
Rated M
Director: Giorgos Tzavellas
Actors: Eleni Hatziargiri, Alekos Alexandrakis
The story of star-crossed lovers and dark family secrets set in the harbour district of Piraeus with music by the Academy Award-winning composer Manos Hadjidakis and superb ‘noir’ cinematography by Aristidis Karidi-Fuchs.

Saturday 25 February
The Lady and the Rascal (I Arhondissa Ke O Alitis) (1969)
Rated PG
Director: Dinos Dimopoulos
Actors: Aliki Vougiouklaki, Dimitris Papamichael
Escaping a high society arranged marriage to a shipowner’s son, Rena (Aliki Vougiouklaki), disguised as a boy, meets Lefteris (Dimitris Papamichael) and falls in love with him.

Saturday 4 March
Iphigenia (1977)
Rated M
Director: Michael Cacoyannis
Actors: Irene Papas, Kostas Kazakos
In this Euripidean tragedy, King Agamemnon decides to deceive his wife Clytemnestra (Irene Papas) and sacrifice their daughter Iphigenia to appease the gods in order to gain safe and swift passage for his ships to Troy.