Cinema of Attractions
August 1, 2020
Nisaki, Hermoupolis, Syros
Οn the evening of August 1st, 2020, 120 years after the historic screening in Hermoupolis, Syros, of early films made for the Edison kinetoscope by the Edison Studio company, SIFF screens a selection of the originally shown films in a loop program, transforming the residential environment of the island’s capital into an expanded cinematic setting.
More specifically, the main area of this action is Nisaki, on the old cosmopolitan beachfront of Hermoupolis, where there previously existed a legendary theatre and municipal café, as well as one of the first hydrotherapy spas of Greece.
The screening installation will open the 8th edition of SIFF, which will take place later in summer from September 3rd to 6th on Syros. This four-day event will include screenings, performances, and more, exclusively in open spaces – which will certainly include the SIFF signature drive-in!
The term “Cinema of Attraction” was first used to describe the early period of cinema, when the moving, silent image awakened unprecedented sensations and impressions in its audience. SIFF refers to the history of this “attraction” in its natural space, the island of Syros, where according to historical sources (documentation of the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive ELIA), Hermoupolis hosted only the second film screening in the territory of the Greek state in 1900 – two years after the first screening in Athens and three years after the screening in Thessaloniki, which at the time belonged to the territory of the Ottoman Empire.
In its early years, cinema was an unprecedented experience immersed in public gathering places: the first projection machines were particularly nimble, offering film-viewing in spaces from squares, to cafés and pastry shops, and more. The current screening installation encourages viewers to consider the moving image in this way again, as an agent capable of animating and transforming public space, bringing together a wide public community.
For those who are not able to physically attend the event on August 1st, the screened films will be available online on the SIFF website and YouTube channel for the whole of August.
The Festival, taking into account the crucial conditions prevailing due to the pandemic of COVID-19, organizes all its activities on the island of Syros in such a way as to avoid crowding at screening locations, taking every preventative and precautionary measure.
The premises are accessible for wheelchair users.