I had some hopes for this museum. My knowledge of Greek film history is next to nothing. But the Weird Greek Wave was one of my favourites at my Film Academy. I love Yorgos Lanthimos and I wanted to find out more about it.
Thessaloniki Cinema Museum is set in a harbour of the Aegean Sea, with large empty spaces and barn-like buildings all over the place. They have two film festivals there. It was a really nice view and I was wondering what it’s like at these events – I never really go to outdoor cinema.
The price was only 2 Euros so it wasn’t an issue. It wasn’t anything odd. Film museums usually don’t cost much. All I wanted was some good, old film-related machinery and the history of Greek film. I got that. Kind of.
The museum was set as a couple of “rooms” telling chronologic movie history in Greece. Each room had a projector, showing very short fragments of films from each period, and an A4 piece of paper with some information about everything displayed in the room. The text was fine but barely memorable. There was too much data about too many topics, instead of focusing on the most crucial parts or films. The projected film fragments weren’t any different – in some rooms, there were around twenty and you couldn’t grasp anything from them.
There was also a digital part. In the halls between rooms, there were touch screens with images floating around. You could click one of them to find out more about… Actually, you couldn’t be sure what. I tried a couple of times and every single time it wasn’t about what I hoped for. There was no subject included on the main screen or any indication of what you’d get. So roll that dice and wait for it to load.
All of it was so boring-looking, that I didn’t even take photos. And after a second of research, I was in the majority. It looked like the museum was being “modernised” at the time I was there. My theory wasn’t entirely right, but definitely something changed. And it wasn’t just now, but a couple of years earlier.
The place has so much potential being a home to Thessaloniki’s International and Documentary Film Festivals. This is a huge thing to focus on. And well, there’s also the weird wave. Lanthimos is a star at the moment with Poor Things scoring The Golden Lion in Venice. He also directed The Lobster, Killing of the Sacred Deer and The Favourite which were quite popular.
Guess what. There was nothing about the modern Greek films. Nothing. I wanted to find out more about Theodoros Angelopoulos who was quite popular in the film world but there were barely any titles up.
The Weird Wave – which actually took place around 20 years ago – was a completely missed opportunity. I’m aware that I repeat one issue but this is fun. And if a museum can make a visit enjoyable – it is the best type of museum. We’re humans, dry facts on a piece of paper aren’t exactly a definition of interesting.
A couple of pictures I didn’t even bother to edit.
Visited 12th June 2023
PS. It seems it got temporarily closed according to TripAdvisor (as of the post date)