Stella, a 1955 Greek film featuring Melina Mercouri, is a retelling of Carmen, and is considered by many to be the most important title in Greek cinema. The film was directed by the Cypriot Michael Cacoyannis and written by Cacoyannis and Iakovos Kambanelis. The music was composed by Manos Hadjidakis and Vassilis Tsitsanis.
Stella was originally intended to be a stage play with the title Stella with the Red Gloves, but it was never staged. It has been claimed that this story was the perfect vehicle for the thirty-five-year-old Mercouri’s film debut. Indeed, it was the hit that Melina Mercouri needed. The film sparked great controversy, and although it was initially rejected by Greek critics, it is now considered one of the five greatest Greek films.
Stella, the main character, is a rembetika singer. Although she is in love with Miltos, a soccer player, she repeatedly rejects his marriage proposals. When Miltos finally forces her to accept the idea of marriage, Stella does not appear in church, despite Miltos repeatedly warning her that he will kill her if she doesn’t marry him.
Born on June 11, 1921 in Limassol, Cyprus, Michael Cacoyannis was the elder son of Sir Panayiotis and Lady Cacoyannis. He studied law in London and was called to the Bar (Barrister-at-law) in 1943. While working for the BBC’s Greek service, first as a news announcer and then as a producer of cultural programs, he also studied acting at the Central School of Dramatic Art in London and directing at the Old Vic School.
Not long after his debut as an actor in 1947, he decided to concentrate instead on directing. In 1952 he left London to settle in Athens and one year later the success of his first film (“Windfall in Athens”) marked the beginning of an international career in directing. Among them “Stella”, “A Girl in Black”, “A Matter of Dignity”, “Zorba the Greek” and the trilogy of “Electra”, “The Trojan Women”, “Iphigenia”, his films were regurarly screened at the most prestigious International film festivals, receiving awards and distinctions. Michael Cacoyannis has worked… read more