The film’s story begins in 1566 in his birth land, the island of Crete, under Venetian rule on those times. Domenico’s father is a rebel fighting against his country’s conquerors, while Domenico is already a known painter, enjoying the fame and success of his art. In his life and work the artist amalgamates the Cretan pride with the Venetian culture, acknowledging at the same time the attraction exerted to him by Venice, a city representing the epicenter of his artistic world.
Through friendships and love affairs, he will build relationships that will follow him for the rest of his life. An important role in his artistic evolution will play his apprenticeship beside Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), the famous Renaissance Italian painter that influence his work in a very decisive way.
From Venice, his restless mind leads him to Spain where his artistic quests will bring him at the Inquisition‘s court as religious themes and their interpretations are a dominant issue in these turbulent times.
The movie through El Greco’s history, depicts a forgotten era of ferocious religious persecution and rivalry, that today seems more opportune than ever to bring into surface. Directed by Yannis Smaragdis, the production features an international cast of actors and crew conveying, without cost compromises, the richness of the outcome, a film that enchants the viewers.
The movie was mainly shot in Rhodes, where the medieval town and the Palace of the Great Magistrate contributed decisively in creating the atmosphere of that time. Parts of the was also shot and in Crete, Athens and in Spain, with Queen Sophia (of Greek origin) present throughout almost the entire duration of the shooting. The Queen herself and the President of the Hellenic Republic were also present in the premier of the movie that took place in Athens with all solemnity.
According to Smaragdis, “the movie started 10 years ago and it was the dream of a lifetime. I feel very lucky for having managed to make a dream of so many years come true. I was also lucky because I had the opportunity to work with a friend and wonderful actor, Sotiris Moustakas, who passed away a month after the shootings. He insisted and forced me to accept not paying him, as if he knew he was about to die soon. It was him as if he wanted to leave behind his swan-song through the film. Sotiris started his career with “Zorba the Greek” and ended with “El Greco”, as if he want to direct himself in this way.
– I owe gratitude to Sotiris Moustakas for leaving his artistic mark to my movie.
– I also wish to say a big “thank you” to the film’s leading actor, Nick Ashdon, for this “metaphysical” connection that made me give him the leading role.
– My inspiration descents from the great Greeks that makes us feel important in our daily lifes, like Kavafis and Domenicos Theotokopoulos.
– The movie is made for an international audience wishing that everyone who goes to see it, to experience the superiority of the human soul conveying some of the picture’s messages. Then I’ll be happy, thinking that I reached my goal.”
Official movie site: www.elgrecothemovie.com