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LOL of the Day: Director to sue film critics over negative reviews

Film director Yannis Smaragdis announced that he will file lawsuits against film critics who wrote negative reviews about his latest film “Kazantzakis.” Smaragdis threats come a month after the film was introduced in Greek movie theaters selling 250,000 tickets.

“I know that before they came in the movie theater, critics said Now we’re going to crash Smaragdis,” the director told several television outlets on Thursday. He further accused his critics of intentionally writing negative reviews and claimed they had “bad souls.”

He further accused them of not “representing the culture that gave birth to us and the light but the darkness. We must finish with them. Those who did the bad must be accountable either personally or some websites that are in the mechanism of the dark internet.”

Dark internet? Much to my knowledge, the majority of established film critics openly criticized the film, noting one by one directing mistakes and negligence, lack of depth in the characters of a film around the life of one of Greece’s best known contemporary authors Nikos “Kazantzakis”. It is just that some critics on websites approached the film a bit harder – and even dared to laugh about the movie.

Nikos Kazantzakis  (1883-1957) is widely considered a giant of modern Greek literature, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in nine different years. Kazantzakis’ novels included Zorba the Greek (published 1946 as Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas), Christ Recrucified (1948), Captain Michalis (1950, translated ‘Freedom or Death), and The Last Temptation of Christ (1955).

Furious about the negative reviews, Smaragdis underlined that “vulgarity will find its way to the court rooms” and said that the money he will win from the trial(s) will be donated to a charity taking care of children suffering from cancer.

The director insisted that reviews against his film had nothing to do with freedom of expression as there were “an insult” against him and the actors.

“Criticism is acceptable but here we are talking about “hubris”, about the intention to deliberately defame me,” Smaragdis said adding that “among the critics are some very serious persons. If they did not do it with bad intention, but they are good people […] they have to watch the movie again and apologize. However, they don’t do it because they are afraid I am going to leave the country,” 71-year old Smaragdis said.

I do not know where the offended Smaragdis will seek a refugee for his directing style but Toronto Globe and Mail described his previous film O Theos agapaei to haviari (God love caviar 2012), a biography of business tycoon Ioannis Varvakis as “laughably bad.”

As soon as Smaragdis’ interview was aired and the threats were made public, Greeks on social media rolled on the floor laughing and posted one ironic comment after the other calling him “poncy” and “Steven Spielberg Smaragdis.” One or two predicting that he will sue those movie goers who did not go to watch his film.

Some Greek said he “would not watch the film even if Nikos Kazatzakis would appear live in the movie theater” and some other claimed his money back writing a “previous film was a top flop.”

A Media & Cinema journalist assured the director in a short newspaper column ” I like your film, Mr Smaragdis, even if I didn’t watch it.”

Director Smaragdis became known to the broader public in the country during the New Democracy government era (2012-2014) because of his Cretan recitation poems (Mantinades) to praise prime minister Antonis Samaras transmitted thought the state and private television channels.

I suppose, Smaragdis will expect that critics will find liking in his film and his direction style right after the trial.

Strictly between us: I have never heard of any director to have filed lawsuits because critics did not like his film. Have you?






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