Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Monday, October 7, 2013

Golden Dawn MPs attend parliament opening in Greece

Greek ReporterGolden Dawn MPs attend parliament opening in GreeceeuronewsGreece's parliament has reopened with a religious blessing and the return of three far-right MPs arrested amid anger over the murder of a musician. Accused of belonging to a criminal group, the trio from the Golden Dawn party took their seats, having ...Meimarakis Orders Search of Golden Dawn MPsGreek ReporterCourt seeks to lift immunity for 3 Golden Dawn MPsNews & ObserverThree of Greece's indicted Golden Dawn lawmakers back in parliamentGlobalPostall 30 news articles »


Greece to return to growth in 2014, draft budget shows

The HinduGreece to return to growth in 2014, draft budget showsThe HinduGreece's economy is expected to return to growth next year, a draft budget presented in parliament showed on Monday. Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the economy - which has shrunk by about a quarter since its peak in 2007 - will grow ...


In welcome change, Greece projects growth in economy in 2014

ATHENS -- In the strongest sign yet of economic recovery, Greece’s ruling coalition on Monday unveiled a draft budget for 2014 that foresees growth in the country's debt-crippled economy, which is emerging from the doldrums after six years of painful austerity.


Huge classic/contemporary Greek restaurant opening soon

Huge classic/contemporary Greek restaurant opening soonCincinnati Business CourierRemezo Greek Cuisine, a new restaurant that will feature a blend of classic and contemporary Greek dishes, is scheduled to open in late October or early November. Located at 9956 Escort Drive in Deerfield Township, the 7,500-square-foot restaurant will ...


Over 30 percent of Greeks at risk of poverty in 2011

Thirty-one percent of Greeks are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, according to statistics published on Monday and based on data from 2011. Figures from the Regional Yearbook published by Eurostat showed that the poverty risk in Greece is well abov... ...


Vatopedi abbot, another 13 indicted, in controversial land swap

Ephraim, the former abbot of the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, is to stand trial in connection with a controversial land swap between the Greek government and the monastery, along with another 13 suspects, a court decided on Monday. A council of appe... ...


Emma Delta to buy OPAP this Friday

The countdown for the completion of the privatization of OPAP has started, and before the bourse opens on Friday Greek-Czech fund Emma Delta will have completed the acquisition of 105 million shares in the gaming company and paid state privatization fund ... ...


US-Israeli fund to acquire stake in NBG subsidiary firm Pangaia

National Bank of Greece is just a step away from announcing a strategic agreement with a major US-Israeli fund that could reach as much as 1 billion euros. Kathimerini understands that the deal between the two sides has been completed and submitted to the... ...


Greece set to emerge from recession next year, says draft 2014 budget

First signs of end to crippling debt crisis, says finance minister of Greek economy that has shrunk by a quarter since 2007

Greece will emerge from six years of recession next year, a draft budget forecast on Monday, signalling the country is past the worst of a crippling debt crisis that nearly broke Europe's single currency.

Twice bailed-out Athens also confirmed it would post a budget surplus before interest payments this year for the first time in over a decade, and its battered economy won a vote of confidence from billionaire US investor John Paulson.

The positive outlook marks a sharp reversal in fortunes for a nation that had become Europe's problem child, lurching from one crisis to the next as it tottered close to bankruptcy and exasperated its international partners with broken promises.

Analysts cautioned that despite the signs of economic stabilisation Greece remained hooked on aid and further debt relief was inevitable to bring down a level of indebtedness set to top 175% of gross domestic product this year.

The Greek economy, which has shrunk by about a quarter since its peak in 2007 and thrown more than one in four out of work, will grow by a modest 0.6% next year thanks to a rebound in investment and exports including tourism, the budget predicted.

In a further boost, Athens forecast a primary budget surplus of 1.6% of national output next year after posting a small surplus of €340m this year. Attaining a primary surplus – which excludes debt servicing costs – makes Athens eligible for further debt relief from its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders.

"In the last three years Greece found itself in a painful recession with an unprecedented level of unemployment," Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said as he unveiled the 2014 budget. "Since this year, the sacrifices have begun to yield fruit, giving the first signs of an exit from the crisis."

Athens will ask its creditors to honour their commitment to provide debt relief, and hopes it can return to the bond markets in the second half of next year, Staikouras said.

Greece is hoping for an extension of maturities and lower interest rates on bailout loans after its partners ruled out an outright write-off of debt. It also expects to receive a third bailout of about 10 billion euros to get through next year. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greece presents budget and says 2014 looks better

It is budget day for the Greek government, which is sounding bullish about the country’s prospects for 2014. It says this will be the year the long recession ends, and after seven years of a worsening economy, green shoots will start to poke through. Growth will return to positive, if anemic territory, although the unemployment figures remain awful, and debt as expressed ...


Sorting out the facts about Greek yogurt

It seems many people are “going Greek” these days – at least when it comes to yogurt. Greek yogurt usually has more protein than regular yogurt, but that doesn’t always mean it’s more healthy – some kinds contain a lot of sugar and fat.


Greece expects an economic turnaround to start soon

ATHENS, Greece, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The Greek government said Monday the country's economy, mired in recession for six years, could soon turn a corner and return to growth.


Vatopedi Monastery’s Holy Exchanges Trial on

The 14 defendants concerning the holy exchanges between the Greek State and the Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos, Greece will be tried by a Three-member Court of Appeal for Felonies in Athens. Specifically, the decree indicts Archimandrite Ephraim, the monk Arsenios, Ekaterini Peleki, Dimitrios Pelekis, Dionisis Pelekis, Ioannis Dionisopoulos, Stefanos, Detsis, Christodoulos Botsias, Grigoris […]


Success-Driven Students from Thessaly University

The Centaurus Racing Team is a group of Greek students from the University of Thessaly, which deals with the study, design and construction of the single-seater car formula. The car is designed based on rules of global competition “Formula Student” which includes teams from around the world. In September the team ranked  first in business […]


Greek archaeologists demand that old Roman road be kept at site of a new subway station

by  Associated Press Greeks hope to save ancient road on subway site Associated Press - 7 October 2013 14:27-04:00

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Some 200 people, including many state-employed archaeologists, have protested Greek government plans to dig up a large section of an ancient Roman road and move it elsewhere to make way for a new subway station.

Holding a banner reading "Culture is not business," the demonstrators outside the construction site at the center of the northern city of Thessaloniki called for the stone road to be incorporated in the subway station.

Monday's peaceful protest came a day before Greece's Supreme Court is expected to discuss an appeal from Thessaloniki's city council against that building plan by the Culture Ministry.

The 76-meter- (250-foot) long and 7.5-meter-(25-foot) wide stretch of road — a juncture of the city's main road with a smaller street — mostly dates to the 4th century.

News Topics: General news, Railway construction, Protests and demonstrations, Rail transportation industry, Transportation and shipping, Industrial products and services, Industries, Business, Heavy construction industry, Construction and engineering, Transportation infrastructure, Political and civil unrest

People, Places and Companies: Thessaloniki, Greece, Western Europe, Europe

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Greece Predicts 2014 End of Six-Year Recession

Greece is predicting its six-year recession will end next year with a small economic advance. Athens said Monday it expects the country's economy to fall another 4 percent this year, but grow by six-tenths of a percent in 2014. Overall, its economy has shrunk by about a quarter since the global downturn began in 2008. Since then, Greece has been forced to secure two international bailouts ...


Fresh rise on ATHEX led by credit stocks

The benchmark index of the Greek bourse posted another four-and-a-half-month high on Monday as a late surge led by bank stocks took it close to the 1,100-point level, suggesting that the local market remains largely unaffected by financial turbulence on t... ...


Greek media group Antenna expands Serbia cable

Antenna Group, a Greek media company, plans to add as many as five cable channels in Serbia over the next 12 months, Chief Executive Officer Theodoros Kyriakou said. Antenna, which acquired its first Serbian channel in 2009, is seeking to expand and is lo... ...


Cypriot president due in Athens on Friday

Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades is scheduled to visit Athens on Friday to discuss a new round of peace talks over the ethnically divided island with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. Reunification talks have been stalled for the past 18 months. An... ...


Millionaire's hedge funds back Greek bank

Funds run by billionaire investor John Paulson see Greece’s recapitalized banking sector as an attractive investment play on the country’s recovery after a deep six-year slump. Encouraged by Greece’s rising exports and a rebounding tourism sector, US hedg... ...


Greek ex-minister jailed for 20 years for graft

A former Greek defense minister was jailed for 20 years after being found guilty Monday of money laundering in the most prominent corruption case to date in the financially stricken country. After a five-month ...


A Taste of Greece Festival In Chandler: All Greek and Good Eats

All of the food at this extremely food-centric event is made by church members, which covers everything from stuffed grape ... be the chicken and lamb dinner plates which included your choice of meat, rice pilaf, green beans, pita bread and salad for ...


Top 10 romantic movies

Everyone loves a romantic movie, right? Here's what the Guardian and Observer's critics think are the 10 most romantic movies of all time. Let us know what you think in the comments below

Peter Bradshaw on romantic movies

Romantic longing has provided the cinema with some of its most glorious and idealistic movies: Casablanca and Brief Encounter are films with an unabashed, unironic passionate flame at their centre.

Movies such as Gone With the Wind and Doctor Zhivago lent something grand and epic to romantic love, but it was perhaps the much-loved weepie An Affair to Remember that did the most to introduce us to the more domestic idea of the chick flick or the date movie – the romantic film adored by women and tolerated by their husbands and boyfriends.

The romantic comedy was a further refinement, almost invented in its modern sense by Woody Allen and revived by Rob Reiner with his smash-hit, When Harry Met Sally, a success that has spawned a thousand sucrose imitations. Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood For Love is probably the most potent, old-fashioned romance of recent times. Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung have that seductively heartbreaking self-sacrifice shown by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman or Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. Love will never go out of fashion.

10. Jules et Jim

Jules et Jim was the biggest box-office success the French New Wave ever enjoyed. When it opened in Paris in January 1962, it played for nearly three months and it found the same crowds all over the world. (In America, two young men saw it – Robert Benton and David Newman – and they began to write a script that would become Bonnie and Clyde.) Although set in the era of the first world war, its sexual manners were an indicator of the 60s to come, with Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) in love with and loved by two men (at least) – Jules, a German, played by Oskar Werner, and Jim, a Frenchman, played by Henri Serre.

The way Jules et Jim emerged was a tribute to Moreau and to Truffaut's obsession with the idea that women were magical. It's an early dramatisation of feminist principles, but it's also the portrait of a bipolar personality drawn to self-destruction. For Truffaut, it was a perfect balancing act between wry observation and sentimental involvement with his own characters. The period material, the sets and costumes, work very well in a wide-screen format, but in truth it's the lethally mercurial temperament of Moreau that holds it all together. She was at her peak in the early 60s, young enough to be sexually compelling, but wise enough to be a tragic witch. Along with its less famous sequel, Two English Girls, this is Truffaut at his best. David Thomson

9. A Room With a View

Few collaborations are so distinctive that the names of those involved come to denote a genre, rather than just a credit. A Room With a View, the first of director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant's EM Forster adaptations, was shot before the term Merchant-Ivory had become an insult; watch it today and you'll blush to have ever smirked at the cliche. This is incredibly fresh and arresting film-making: moving and amusing, swooningly romantic and socially ferocious – nothing less than a full-frontal (in every way) assault on your soul.

Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) is on a Baedeker-led tour of Florence with punctilious cousin Charlotte (Maggie Smith) when she encounters, at their pensione, free-thinking Mr Emerson (Denholm Elliott) and his dreamy son, George (Julian Sands). Through a series of bloody physical confrontations and, worse yet, sticky etiquette breaches, Lucy's desire for emotional freedom starts to bubble, coming to the boil when George kisses her in a cornfield. But Charlotte witnessed the snog, so Lucy is whisked back to Surrey, where she gets engaged to the horribly priggish Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis), to the polite distaste of her family, and the Rev Beebe (Simon Callow, uncharacteristically subtle). Then the Emersons reappear …

What might have been starched and talky in other hands comes out of the wash alive with spring and spirit. The botched embrace between Lucy and Cecil, and the heartbreaking moment when he, after being rejected, puts his boots back on, are once seen, never forgotten. Smith's Charlotte – so funny as a curmudgeonly drag ("The ground will do for me," she says, as cushions are assigned on a picnic, "I haven't had rheumatism for years. And if I do feel a twinge, I shall stand up") – is just tragic alone, as Lucy might well have been, had her story not had such a happy ending. The final scene, a ravishing in a room, with a view, as the bells of Florence chime out, would leave only a stone unmoved. Catherine Shoard

8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Girl gets fed up with boy. Girl erases all memories of boy from her mind in a dubious brain-zapping procedure. Boy finds out and does the same. This is a romantic movie, Charlie Kaufman-style. It takes its title from a 1717 poem by Alexander Pope and charts the side of love that movies usually try to ignore: the arguments, the boredom, the irritating habits that drive couples apart and the dreadful, stilted moments that accompany a break-up. Love Actually, it ain't.

As you would expect from the writer of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, this is not the story of a doomed relationship told in a straightforward fashion. Joel Barish is a withdrawn, greyish man, played with uncharacteristic restraint by Jim Carrey. Clementine Kruczynski (a brilliant Kate Winslet) is free-spirited, reckless and prone to dying her hair blue. When they meet on a train travelling through wintry Long Island in the film's opening scenes, it's as if they've never met before – but of course they have. The strange attraction that draws them together is down to the fact that, until very recently, they were lovers. Their forgetting is the work of Lacuna Inc, a shady New York company that liberates its clients from unwanted memories.

Eternal Sunshine was Kaufman's second collaboration with Michel Gondry. The resourceful French director proved the perfect match to Kaufman's freewheeling script, which puts us inside Joel's memories as they are being stripped away. The film's concept – that a couple can delete each other after a painful break-up so they can live on in blissful ignorance – seems at first a pessimistic take on love. But chinks of light begin to shine through as Joel's memories of Clementine are systematically sought out and zapped. He recalls that, before the unhappiness set in, there were genuinely happy moments too and he recaptures (too late?) what made them fall for each other in the first place. In spite of all its pitfalls, Kaufman still makes love seem like the most precious thing in the world. Killian Fox

7. Hannah and Her Sisters

That Chekhovian title may have promised Woody Allen at his most pretentious, but this 1986 roundelay grossed $40m and became his biggest ever box-office hit. The film shuffles interconnecting storylines concerning three Manhattan sisters: the warm, well-meaning Hannah (Mia Farrow) is married to the bumbling Elliot (Michael Caine), who is in turn attracted to her sister, Lee (Barbara Hershey). As an affair begins between the two, Lee's own relationship with the tormented artist Frederick (Max von Sydow) comes under strain, and light is brought to an otherwise dark canvas by Hannah's ex-husband, fussbudget TV producer Mickey (Allen), who becomes involved with Hannah's other sister, the jittery Holly (Dianne Wiest).

So what was it about Hannah that made it so successful? The balance of comedy and drama is deftly maintained, and there's a palatable, soapy aspect to Elliot and Lee's affair. The film, with its chapter headings, aspires to a novelistic structure, each part favouring a different character or storyline. And the performances are uniformly subtle, especially from Caine (who won the Oscar for best supporting actor) and the underrated Farrow, who was then an Allen regular as well as his off-screen partner. Indeed, Farrow brings genuine mystery to a nurturing figure who may not be as saintly as she seems. "Hannah was a character neither Mia nor I understood, at the start, and at the finish," Allen admitted. "We could never figure out whether Hannah was the bulwark of the family and the spine who held everyone together, or whether Hannah was not so nice … Mia looked to me for guidance and I could never give it to her."

Typically, the perfectionist director was far from pleased with the movie. "Hannah and Her Sisters is a film I feel I screwed up very badly," he said later. It was the relatively happy ending that was to blame: "That was the part that killed me." But after all the characters have been through in pursuit of love and contentment, you couldn't say they hadn't earned it. Ryan Gilbey

6. The Apartment

Fresh off Some Like It Hot, director Billy Wilder, his co-writer IAL Diamond, and their star, Jack Lemmon, bowled straight into making The Apartment. Two perfect comedies in a row: how's that for a double whammy? The germ of the idea for The Apartment had actually sat in Wilder's notebook for many years, ever since he watched Brief Encounter and scribbled down the words "Movie about the guy who climbs into the warm bed left by two lovers."

CC "Bud" Baxter (Lemmon) is the poor sap in question. He's rising fast at work, one promotion after another, but the secret of his success is that he loans out his apartment to the company executives for their trysts, one 45-minute slot at a time. It's a sleazy little set-up, and Wilder keeps the movie galloping along so briskly that we can overlook the unpleasantness at first. But then reality starts to creep in as Baxter realises that the woman he longs to bring home in his arms – chirpy elevator assistant Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) – has already been to his apartment, in the company of his boss (Fred MacMurray). The question of how Baxter finds out allows Wilder and Diamond to demonstrate their knack for succinct storytelling: one broken compact mirror is all it takes to make his heart break. They're unbeatable at turning out these "moments" – witness also Baxter's classic straining-spaghetti-through-a-tennis-racket scene, born out of Diamond's realisation that "Women love seeing a man trying to cook in the kitchen."

Such stand-out scenes never impede the film's precise, fluid rhythm. Wilder shot the picture in 50 days flat, and edited it in under a week. "We had three feet of unused film," he said proudly. This is funny, fat-free film-making, expertly paced and played, ending in a romantic flourish to swoon over. It won five Academy Awards, including best picture, best director and best screenplay. Wilder said it was "the picture [of mine] that has the fewest faults." Everyone else knows it as a masterpiece. RG

5. In the Mood for Love

Wong Kar-wai takes his time shooting a film, setting out without a conventional script and waiting to see where the mood takes him; his actors rarely have possession of the bigger picture. As it turned out, this is a sizzling romance about two cuckolded next-door neighbours (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) who fall in love with one another. As rendered by Wong's regular cinematographer, Christopher Doyle (and his replacement, Mark Lee Ping-bin, who took over when the shooting schedule overran), the lush colours on screen are mellowed with nostalgia and ripened by sensuality.

As much as this is the story of love blossoming out of rejection, it is also a testament to its director's ongoing infatuation with cinema. What he can do with a passage of music, a close-up or an adjustment in film speed makes most other directors look unfit to shoot a nativity play. Doyle observes the tentative encounters from behind lamps and cabinets, or from under a bed. If you didn't already know this cinematographer's work, you might assume Wong had hired a private detective for the job, so skilful are the furtive compositions.

It is an unorthodox romance, widely regarded as the director's finest work. And it is as impeccably turned out as you would expect from a Wong film. Audiences might well emerge craving props and costumes featured in the movie – the silk and gossamer dresses worn with perfect Audrey Hepburn poise by the regal Cheung, or the brilliantine that gives Leung his authentic Clark Gable sheen, or the snazzy noodle-flasks with which these almost-lovers collect their supper from a basement cafe. Unlike its 2004 semi-sequel, 2046, there is more here than just style. A heartbreaking final scene more than substantiates the idea that it is a Brief Encounter for the 21st century. RG

4. Breathless (A Bout de Souffle)

In 1946, Humphrey Bogart had played "Bogey" in The Big Sleep, alongside his wife-to-be, Lauren Bacall, a sexy daughter available for marriage. Maybe the Hollywood dream never had a purer, crazier manifestation. But here we are, 15 years later: Bogart is dead and, worse, his Hollywood has entered its funeral years. And then arrives Jean-Luc Godard, half in love with that old mythology, half contemptuous of it. So Jean-Paul Belmondo, a magnificent jerk, will model himself on Bogey and take off.

Breathless was Godard's first feature, and his first demonstration of how to turn the raiment of the Hollywood dream inside out. In addition to putting Godard's love-hate relationship with Hollywood up on the wall like graffiti, it was a signal that movies could be made nearly as quickly and cheaply as we might write emails. So it's important to remember that while Breathless still feels desperately modern, it was made before the machinery of our modern culture.

It was done from a four-page outline, on about $48,000, with a quarter of that paying for Jean Seberg, a failure in Hollywood, but the hip new thing in Paris in 1960. She's Patricia, an American who sells the New York Herald Tribune on the streets, and Belmondo is Michel, an existentialist idiot on the run after he shoots a cop. His days are numbered and the film moves like a Charlie Parker solo – so hectic you wonder if the alto sax will live out the next 16 bars. There's no way it should work, being made up as they went along, but Godard knew it was time to treat the audience like dirt and his characters like shit. This casual malice turned into a monument nonetheless. DT

3. Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight

An American man and a French woman in their early 20s meet on a train heading through Europe. They alight in Vienna, amble around for 14 hours and shoot the breeze. Yes, the plot of Before Sunrise could be written on the back of a Eurail ticket, but it's what Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) say and don't say during their Austrian walkabout that makes the film what it is: a gentle but canny Gen-X fusion of My Dinner With Andre and the Judy Garland shore-leave romance, The Clock.

As the soon-to-be lovers chat, show off, lark around and kiss, with director Linklater's camera a tender and unobtrusive companion, a sense of yearning bubbles up in the movie: we sense time slipping away, and the dawn approaching. When the morning arrives, and the time comes to part, Celine and Jesse promise to meet again in Vienna in six months' time; in that pre-Facebook era, the arrangement had a heartbreaking fragility.

For the 2004 sequel, Before Sunset, we find Jesse, now a writer enjoying success with a novel about a one-night stand, bumping into Celine in Paris. The couple steal away on a stroll around the city, but things have changed. No longer hopeful young things with life spread out before them, Jesse and Celine must now confess to disappointments and resentments. Even the span of their conversation is cramped; they only have 80-or-so minutes (played out in the film in real time) before Jesse must return to his wife and child in the US. Out of this melancholy scenario comes an honest but affectionate portrait of an amorphous romance – not to mention one of the most tantalising and ingenious endings in all cinema.

And then, just shy of a decade later, came the third, Before Midnight. To those looking for a happy ending: in the interim, they became a proper couple, living in Paris, but together on a writer's retreat in Greece. Their cares and preoccupations are those of the early middle-aged – children, exes, disappointment – but miraculously, marvellously, they never become careworn. RG

2. Casablanca

The unspoken tremor in most wartime movie romances is that the picture needs to address the feelings of couples separated by war. It's not just whether they will both survive, but whether love and desire can overcome the temptations that come with separate lives. There's another element at work (vital to romance and the age of censorship in the movies) which is that desire may mean the most when it cannot be consummated: the wish for intimacy is so intense because the act is forbidden or impossible.

In Casablanca, we assume that Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) had a good deal of sex in Paris, but in their awkward reunion in north Africa, sex is not renewed. Rather, the triangle of Rick-Ilsa-Victor (Paul Henreid) must contemplate the ultimate selection of just two of them to go forward. And we know now what Rick's decision is, even if in our enlightened time we may ask whether Ilsa shouldn't have been doing some of the deciding. But the romantic or erotic energy is sublimated in the most impeccable cause of all – the war effort. Rick forsakes Ilsa as part of his new commitment to the fight against fascism.

Casablanca stands for movie romance in great part because it is hardly true to life. It won the best picture Oscar and seemed to be history coming to life – it opened just after the allies had occupied the real Casablanca. In fact, divorce and infidelity rates increased rapidly during the war. But Casablanca reassured us all; it promised that honour was intact. DT

1. Brief Encounter

How many other countries would pick Brief Encounter as the best movie romance of all time? But for a generation that remembers when the trains ran on time and station buffets were as tidy and inviting as the one in this movie, Brief Encounter is etched in nostalgia for an era when trapped middle-class lives contemplated adultery but set the disturbing thought aside. On the face of it, it would seem that Britain has changed; but is it possible that the David Lean-Noël Coward film is still the model for repressed feelings as an English ideal? We are accustomed to attributing films to directors, but it's only proper to regard Coward as an equal author of this movie. He wrote the script, taking it from his own one-act play, Still Life. He made the leads "nice" people (Laura and Alec, a housewife and a doctor) and the supporting characters clear-cut English types – Stanley Holloway as the naughty, good-hearted station master and Joyce Carey as the bossy, buffet manageress, as well as Cyril Raymond who is quite exquisite as Laura's husband, Fred, a decent dullard who senses that his wife has "been away" but cannot dream of what she has been up to or how close they have all come to disaster.

It is Coward's preference, too, that family and stability are so respected in this film. Never married, and discreetly gay, Coward knew enough not to offend middle-class propriety. David Lean, on the other hand, was raised a strict Quaker and was always in rebellion against restraint – so he was married six times and, on his own, he might have pushed Laura and Alec a degree or two further than made Coward comfortable. If that sounds odd, you have to remember the extent to which Lean was Coward's protege. The young editor had been noticed by Coward and promoted to help direct and then take over directing In Which We Serve, This Happy Breed, Blithe Spirit and finally Brief Encounter.

So the relationship that begins at the Milford railway station (it's two metaphorical stops down the line from Borchester – The Archers began five years after Brief Encounter) with a piece of grit in Laura's eye and Alec's unquestionably clean handkerchief will lead to afternoons together, lunch and a visit to the cinema (their silly movie is called Flames of Passion), a country drive, and an awkward trip to a friend's flat (the supercilious Valentine Dyall). Nothing happens, and Alec will soon take his family to a new job in South Africa – in 1945 that was still a destination of some hope.

"Nothing happens" is hardly a motto for movies today. But at the end of the second world war, when cinemas were packed, desire on the screen was fabulously (and sometimes hysterically) inflamed by self-denial, shyness and censorship. It's an open question, of course, but consider the possibility that movie romance, and its dream of desire, were stimulated by the various controls that blocked abandon. Those devices include our innocence. In 1945, there wasn't a hint of irony or parody in the film's pounding Rachmaninov score (the second piano concerto, played to the hilt by Eileen Joyce).

Today, the set-up begs for satire. But Brief Encounter has survived such threats, because it is so well made, because Laura's voiceover narration is truly anguished and dreamy, because the music suckers all of us, and because Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard are perfect. I realise, "perfect" seems dangerously prim and old-hat, an ultimate proof of hopeless gentility. But that's not fair. Howard could be a wild man – as we know from his later work – and you feel recklessness and revolution as a wind tugging at him.

As for Celia Johnson, it is due largely to her that the film is still so moving. Her agony and her rapture stay interior, and they flip-flop like nerves in this beautiful, grave black-and-white movie. Her voice is measured but the eyes are desperate. That she holds the film together is beyond doubt. DT

RomanceFrancois TruffautHelena Bonham CarterJim CarreyKate WinsletMichel GondryCharlie KaufmanWoody AllenMia FarrowMichael CaineShirley MacLaineBilly WilderWong Kar-WaiJean-Luc GodardRichard LinklaterEthan HawkeJulie DelpyHumphrey BogartNoel © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Paulson Likes U.S. Investments In Greek Banks

John Paulson and a clutch of bullish U.S. hedge funds are leading a charge into Greek banks, confident that Greece, long seen as the weakest economy of the euro zone periphery, is on the turn. Such is the strength of their interest that Greece's big banks are now lobbying the government to consider expediting re-privatization of the long-troubled sector. Mr. Paulson, best known for his successful wager against the U.S. sub-prime mortgage market in 2007, praised Greece's 'very favorable pro-business government'.


Will there be power blackouts if Miliband's price freeze is switched on?

Ed Miliband has been warned about potential power blackouts if he introduces a price freeze, but this did not happen in the past when energy bills were controlled by the state.

In fact, 15 of the European Union's 28 member governments already protect customers from steep power rises, without major problems.

ScottishPower warned last week that investment might be cut in Britain should there be a price cap, but tariff rises are strictly controlled in Spain, the home of its parent group, Iberdrola. It was only last month that Iberdrola received permission for a 3% rise this year. Scottish has yet to announce increases for 2013, but last December alone it raised gas and electricity prices by 7%.

French state-controlled EDF, another of the big six firms operating in Britain, is also restricted from raising its prices above an officially imposed index-linked formula in its domestic market.

This summer EDF was allowed to raise electricity prices by just 5% for the next 12 months, with the same agreed for the following August. But the rise in France has tended to be around 2% per annum in recent years.

Last year the Belgian government introduced its own freeze on the tariffs of variable energy contracts for residential consumers and small businesses from 1 April to the end of December 2012.

Portugal, Denmark and Greece also have controlled prices, while British customers pay the fourth-highest bills for electricity in Europe and the seventh-highest for gas.

Energy industryEnergyEd MilibandTerry © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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In the Footsteps of Pheidippides

My name is Constantine Nicholas Karnazes, son of Nicholas Constantine Karnazes, grandson of Constantine Nicholas Karnazes, and so forth and so on throughout the ages.

My father's family raised goats in a little village called Silimna near Tripolis in the Peloponnese. My mother's family hails from the sundrenched island of Icaria, far from mainland Greece and a world onto its own.

Me, I am a runner. It's in my blood. Had I been born 2,500-years earlier I would have been an esteem hemerodromous, just like Pheidippides. Instead of battling the scourges of modern-day America, I would have been battling the Persians at Marathon. What's in my DNA cannot be altered, that is a battle not worth fighting.

How did this come to be? Perhaps owing to my Greek ancestry, beginning at a young age I was fascinated with endurance and discipline. Some of my earliest childhood recollections are of sitting quietly in Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles listening to an exhaustive Divine Liturgy, largely delivered in Greek, punctuated with endless refrains of, "Kyrie eleison," (Lord, have mercy) always thrice-repeated with the final verse delivered slower, more drawn out and deliberately, "Kee-ree-e e-le-ee-sawn..." as if to be saying, "Okay, Lord, we really mean it this time, have some mercy will ya please!" Get a Greek Orthodox Archbishop going and you could be up for days on end. These sermons were not known for their brevity.

Yet, I would sit there attentively for hours, even as I watched other people falling asleep at the pews. Many used to tell my parents that I was going to be a priest one day, but the truth was I had little interest in the sermon itself (what 5-year old boy could even understand this stuff?). What interested me was exercising my ability to keep myself still while sitting attentively through something I barely understood for hours on end. I had a deep desire to master my body and mind, and sitting idle within the church's sacred Nave engaged in protracted liturgical worship was the acid test of willpower and self-control.

Another early memory was that of our Easter Picnic festivities. Greek Orthodox Easter was, from what I could tell, one massive party. Never had I seen so much wine and raucousness taking place in a single location. The quantities of food and celebration were beyond belief, but what really struck me were the older Greek men dancing endlessly without rest. Most of them were from, "the old country" (i.e., they were Greek immigrants) and they seemed a bit less interested in food and carousing and more interested in moving with incredible form and exquisite mastery to the rhythmic strumming of the Hellenic Sounds playing away on their dual 8-string bouzouki's.

Most of these men were in remarkable shape, lean and fit with beautifully preserved olive skin and a head full of peppery grey hair. Their faces were chiseled and taught, and they danced with whomever would dance with them, and even by themselves when everybody else tired. These were hardy men, resilient and determined, wise to the ways of the world, men who had endured hardship and struggle far beyond anything their domestic American bred offspring would ever know. My grandfather immigrated to the U.S. when he was 14-years old with 20 dollars in his pocket and the hope of foraging a new life in a place far removed from the hills of Greece.

In between sets of music when the band was taking a break, I would watch these men exchange shots of a clear liquid from a little handheld glass they held, sometimes hoisting this memento into the air before consuming (I later learned the contents of which to be Ouzo). When the band gathered the energy to resume, these men were the first back out onto the dance floor.

Our family would leave sometimes near midnight, and the final people remaining at the festival were the old Greek men, still dancing as though it were noon. Their endurance was extraordinary.

Why I would remember these particular things as a child I do not know.

A final childhood memory was that of a footrace during kindergarten. We would be racing against the 1st and 2nd graders, too, and they were older and stronger. From play during recess, I knew I wasn't the swiftest kid around, other boys and girls would frequently outsprint me. But this was a contest of four laps around the schoolyard.

The gun sounded and we all took off. Some kids went out at a full on sprint pace, racing as though they were running a hundred yard dash. By the end of the first lap I was somewhere in the middle of the pack. By the end of the second lap many of the initial sprinters were complaining that the race was too long. But the teachers kept telling them that it was four laps and to keep going. Most of them quit or started to walk.

At the end of the third lap nearly all of the kids were walking from exhaustion or sitting on the sidelines. I just kept chugging along, not really paying attention to my position because there were so many kids in front of me.

But, come the fourth lap, something remarkable occurred. I passed the final kid and found myself in front of the pack leading the race. This surprised me, as it is hardly what I'd expected the outcome to be. Even more startling to me, I still had lots of energy left. I just kept running along, not feeling very tired at all.

I came across the finish line a full half lap ahead of the nearest rival. Not once had I slowed or walked, I just kept going at a steady pace throughout the duration. I felt like I could have kept going, I wasn't even tired.

The teachers didn't seem to make much of it, initially at least. They just congratulated me and then went about corralling all of the other kids in an effort to get us back inside the classrooms. Later that day, however, I started to notice side conversations between teachers, and then they would look over at me. I could tell they were talking about me, but I didn't know what they were saying. But this happened on several occasions, and I thought they might be saying something good. Who knows, really? I was only 6-years old and feelings and emotions were the presiding cognizant awareness, not logical thought and intellectual analysis. For all I know now they could have been making fun of me.

Either way, I didn't really care. Yeah, I had won the race, but running laps around the playground didn't particularly interest me. What I really loved was running home after school. This was where true freedom could be found. Screw running around in circles within the confines of some caged manmade institution; real adventure took place outside of the school walls.

Running through the park, chasing the ducks around the lake, breathing the open, clean air blowing in from across the Pacific, marveling at the great expanses before me, this was the stuff of life. A man's education didn't belong inside a classroom, not even at six-years old.

Why is it these thoughts and experiences were some of my earliest childhood recollections? This remains anybody's guess. Nature? Nurture? Who's to say? Perhaps we really were born to run and some people feel this intrinsic primordial instinct stronger than others? Perhaps the hemerodromoi spirit had been passed along through the ages and my living out this natural calling was simply manifest destiny? Or maybe it was on account of my mom pushing me around town in a stroller from sun up to sun down beginning from the day I was born? Then again, she is Greek, too. So perhaps she was unconsciously living out her inherited linage.

Whatever the case may be, it is who I am. I love to explore, and my two feet always took me to where I wanted to go.

My father insists that we hail from the same village as Pheidippides, the original Greek marathoner. I always remind him that I grew up in Southern California, not the mountains of Greece. And besides, I tell him, mom's side of the family is from the island of Icaria. "There are plenty of hills in Icaria, too," he reminds me.

"Do I really want to follow in the footsteps of Pheidippides?" I ask him, knowing full well that the ancient Greek foot-messenger is alleged to have died after running from the battlefield of Marathon to the Acropolis to deliver news of the Greek's victory over the invading Persians forces.

"What more noble way to go," he laments.

I think he was kidding, but in a strange sort of way I could relate.

___________________ Renowned ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes was named by TIME magazine as one of the, "Top 100 Influential People in the World." He will be traveling to his ancestral motherland in October to lead the Navarino Challenge, a three-day festival of running and health. To learn more about the Navarino Challenge, visit: To learn more about Dean, visit:


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