Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Margaritas and Mel Gibson.

Outdoor movies have always been part of Greek summer life. One of the delights of visiting, or living in Greece is the summer cinema.

When we first came to Greece in 1964, we where exposed to the outdoor cinema. Being from Brooklyn where the movies were a Saturday event with a double feature as well as cartoons, I could not imagine an outdoor movie.

We were in Edipso, on the island of Evia visiting family; it was a discovery of roots as well as new experiences.

The town set up a screen, actually a sheet on the side of a building, the projector made more noise than the sound track. A woman on a balcony of the building where the film was being projected watched the movie upside down. I have no idea what we paid, I am sure my cousin treated.

We dragged chairs and refreshments from home and settled in the square to watch the movie. A scratchy black and white movie in Greek. We had to wait for it to get dark so we could see the film. Everybody gathered hours before, it was a once a week ritual, the projector made the rounds all over the island, Edipso got it on Thursday, I think. People made visits to their homes or the tavernas for refreshment as well as the proverbial ice cream sellers that were always there.

On all our subsequent trips, before we retired here, the outdoor cinema was always a must. It did not matter what was playing, the worst film gets better when you see it outdoors in a Greek village, even if that village is Athens.

I remember going to a cinema in Plaka, and it was on the roof of a building. This cinema had an amazing view of the Acropolis, so even if the movie sucks, you have one of the best views in Greece.

We now are retired in a rather sophisticated town in the Peloponnese. There are foreigners as well as locals here. Our local cinema, the Cinema Star, gets us all together. It has its own space and a proper screen, with good sound and a refreshment booth, with traditional popcorn as well as all the drinks you can imagine. It is also used for town events; the school plays, etc. are held there.

We never miss a movie, no matter what is playing; there are two shows, one at 9, and the other at 11. Lately, they get the latest films and you see first run films. I kind of miss the old scratchy B/W films and the screen being a sheet hung on a building, if I remember correctly the sheets sometimes had a flower print on it.

With progress have come some innovations in all the areas. Drinks are more than homemade wine, and soft drinks. The other night we were offered mixed drinks, not only, Gin and tonics, but Margaritas as well as Mojitos, and even Caipirinhas, a.k.a.Guyperinias, what is Greece coming to?

We saw the latest Mel Gibson movie,“The Edge Of Darkness” and we had Margaritas. This is not the Greece of before, but it ain’t bad.

Margaritas and Mel, I am sure he would have approved.


  1. Terrific article. It reminds me of when I used to go to the drive-in at the bottom of the hill where I live years ago. Eunice & I used to take the dog and they would give us a dog biscuit as we entered. My dog, Wendy, always had to relieve herself just as the movie reached an important part.

    The movie was always a double feature with a cartoon in the middle. I was always the designated dog walker. There was an area behind the screen where you couldn't see the film and Wendy would take forevefr to find the right spot.

    Thanks for the memories.

  2. I remember the terrible fuss that was made some five or six years ago when they wanted to do away with the outdoor movies, but all the lovers of the the summer cinema protested and thankfully it still remains a part of Greek culture.

  3. You are lucky, Jeannine. No more drive-ins here as the land is too valuable.

    I really miss them.

  4. No drive-in had a view of the Acropolis

  5. The amazing thing about reading somebody's blog is that you learn something new about that person or about something in the article. For example, salt doesn't stay down too well! And secondly if you google 'Guyperinias' you only get 1 google hit and that hit, pertains to this article.....AMAZING!!! Keep writing Gregy.....

  6. OK, so I spelled it wrong it is caipirinha

  7. i love the outdoor theatre... even if they had them here in the US, they wouldn't be the same! just like eating tzatziki...

  8. Some things do not travel, ouzo, octopus, outdoor cinemas, and lots of things

  9. we in america just did it wrong.. rather than sitting in cars to watch the movies, we should have just sat outside on a field with our blankets and coolers of liquid refreshments and such.. they have actually done this in some towns here in the area.. and it is a fun thing to do (tho maybe it wouldnt be on par with your greek standards)..