Expected guests include Bahman Ghobadi, Aki Kaurismaki, Costa Gavras, Cristian Mungiu and Andreas Dresen.

The 53rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival begins today (Nov 2) with the gala presentation of Leo Carax’s Holy Motors.

The film will be the first of 145 titles to be screened throughout the festival, which runs until Nov 11 and has been compiled by artistic director Dimitri Eipides.

Directors attending the festival include Bahman Ghobadi, who will introduce his latest film Rhino Season, which stars Monica Bellucci.

The festival will also honour Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki, who will present recent production Le Havre as well as previous hits such as the Match Factory Girl (1989), La Vie de Boheme (1991) and The Man without a Past (2002). Eleven films are included in the tribute accompanied by a special bilingual publication covering his entire body of work.

The presence of Ghobadiand and Kaurismaki as well as Romanian director Cristian Mungui and Germany’’s Andreas Dresden has been spurred by support from the EU’s NRDF scheme and financial assistance from the Media programme.

The grant should enable the festival to continue until at least till 2013 while it waits to receive a much delayed subsidy from the financially strapped culture ministry.

One result of the economic downturn that has hurt Greece considerably is that the main awards of the event – the Golden and Silver Alexander as well as the Special Jury Price  - that will not include a €35,000 purse for the first time.

A special tribute will be held in the memory of Greek film master and former Thessaloniki festival president Theo Angelopoulos, who died in a road accident last January

The tribute includes landmark films such as the Travelling Plays (1955) and Voyage to Cyretha (1984) as well as a concert of his music led by composer EleniKaridou.

The tribute includes the presentation of his landmark films, The Travelling Players (1975), Voyage to Cythera (1984) and Landscape in the Mist (1988) as well as a round table on his exceptional career on November 8.

His regular composer, the celebrated Eleni Karaindrou conducting the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orhestra and accompanied by singer Dimitra Galani will offer

November 9 a concert highlighting music and songs she composed for Angelopoulos films during their 28 years-long intimate collaboration.

The festival wraps November 10 with the Corean production In Another Country directed by Hong Sang-soo and starring Isabelle Huppert.

International competition line-up  

  • ·      A HIJACKING (KAPRINGEN), Tobias Lindholm, Denmark, 2012               
  • ·      A MONTH IN THAILAND (O LUNA IN THAILANDA), Paul Negoescu, Romania, 2012             
  • ·      AQUI Y ALLA, Antonio Mendez Esparza,Spain/USA/ Mexico, 2012
  • ·      BOY EATING THE BIRD’S FOOD (TO AGORI TROI TO FAGITO TOU POULIOU), Ektoras Lygizos, Greece, 2012 
  • ·      THE COLOR OF THE CHAMELEON (TSVETAT NA HAMELEONA), Emil Christov, Bulgaria, 2012           
  • ·      EPILOGUE, Amir Manor, Israel, 2012
  • ·      JOY (HARA), Ilias Yannakakis, Greece, 2012
  • ·      I AM NOT A HIPSTER, Destin Daniel Cretton, USA, 2012           
  • ·      KINSHASA KIDS, Marc-Henri Wajnberg, Belgium/France, 2012
  • ·      LIVING (ZHIT), Vasily Sigarev, Russia, 2012            
  • ·      LOVING (MILOSC), Slawomir Fabicki, Poland, 2012                   
  • ·      MOLD (KUEF), Ali Aydin, Turkey/Germany, 2012
  • ·      OUR LITTLE DIFFERENCES (DER FEINEN UNTERSCHIEDE), Sylvie Michel, Germany, 2012    
  • ·      SOUTHWEST(SUDOESTE),Eduardo Nunes, Brazil, 2011          

TABOOR, Vahid Vakilifar, Iran, 2012