Cinema enthusiasts at 40th anniversary of Scarface

Greek-Australian Film Society marks its official incorporation at the 40th Anniversary of Scarface last month
Steve Bauer - “Manolo” in Scarface with Barrister George Defteros - at the 40th Anniversary of Scarface. Photo: Supplied Steve Bauer - “Manolo” in Scarface with Barrister George Defteros - at the 40th Anniversary of Scarface. Photo: Supplied

“I always tell the truth… even when I lie’… I said to my partner, in a bad Tony Montana impression. She was confused and unimpressed. My pestering and excitement were understandable – I was just informed by a friend that the 40th anniversary of Scarface would be celebrated at The Astor Cinema last week, June 24.

It be a “boys” night. Let’s call it that. But is that all Scarface has to offer? A testosterone fuelled bloodbath saturated with cocaine for the entertainment of young men? Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for it. These elements are essential to the thrill, excess and adrenaline of the film.

But at a higher level, the story is about Mammon and the primal love of riches and power; that same power Christ was offered in the desert, and the same power that Montana believes comes before the acquisition of a woman’s sexual intrigue.

The protagonist’s lust for worldly dominion ultimately comes to pass, but at what cost? The death and destruction of all he loves, the trust of his mother, the innocence of his sister, and the loyalty of a friend. “The world is yours” displayed brightly at the centre of the Cuban immigrant’s mansion is a haunting symbol of how, like in a Shakespearean tragedy, unbridled ambition can lead single-handedly to the grave.

Scarface is a classic and I was going. Moreover, the event coincided with recent developments at the Greek-Australian Film Society (GAFS). In early May, we held an official vote to incorporate our Society and become a standing legal entity, which was ultimately finalised in May. We then opted for an internal get together – drinks, food, movies, all the fun stuff – to encourage group bonding and get the ball rolling. Hence, the 40th Anniversary of Scarface was the perfect night for a newly formed GAFS to celebrate a masterpiece of 80s Hollywood cinema.

I along with the GAFS new vice-president Chris Vlahonasios, treasurer Christine Mavridis and Secretary Ruby Rio we were accompanied by actors, Sotiris Tzelios, Kevin Priestley, Franco Leo, and director / writer John Kokkinias.

The evening commenced with a live QandA with legendary actor Steve Bauer (“Manolo” in Scarface), emceed by the Australian commentator Andrew Schiavello. The Hollywood star sent the audience into fits of hysterics as he retold stories surrounding the making of the film, the shenanigans on set, and the initial scathing reviews by the critics. Once the audience had the opportunity to ask their own questions, I made my way to the line and inquired about Steve’s acting process and its relation to Stella Adler’s teaching methods. The actor, as collected as ever, provided me with a magnificent response (paraphrasing):

“My approach to acting, as in life, is to be as well rounded, well-equipped and well-educated as possible. A renaissance man”.

Schiavello was gracious enough to give me a personal shout-out before I left the line and grabbed a quick photo with Bauer out back. “Manolo.” I briefly chatted about our mutual friendship with legendary Greek-Australian performers, Costas, and Louis Mandylor.

Events such as this remind us of why we fell in love with cinema. As the president of the Greek-Australian Film Society, I believe it is our mission to preserve, platform and produce high quality Geek-Australian films for the development of our culture.

In a world of increasing atomisation and isolation, we need to create avenues for collaboration and connection, that serve to celebrate the beauty of cinema. We plan on acting as a memory bank for future generations of Greek Australians who can, like those attending the 40th anniversary of Scarface, gather in honour of their own historical narratives, experiences, and struggles.

We believe this can only be achieved by resurrecting the fundamental principles of our ethnos, and imbuing these values within the stories we tell.

In saying all this, our Society is at the very least a network of cinephiles who simply want to enjoy cinema together, who want to go out, talk about movies and foster relationships with other Greek-Australians in the film world. We are a “parea”, first and foremost.

If you would like to get involved, please don’t hesitate to reach out – and follow us on both our Instagram and LinkedIn pages.

Nikita Chronis is the president of the Greek-Australian Film Society

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