Yiannis Dalianidis

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Yiannis Dalianidis in 2009 interview for Espresso

Yiannis Dalianidis (1923-2010) was a Greek film director and filmaker who became known as the "Gentle Knight of Popular Cinema."

Dalianidis was born on December 31, 1923, in Thessaloniki and studied in the Drama School of Thessaloniki. Later he would continue his studies in Vienna.

He started out as a dancer, a choreographer and actor in musical theater, but soon expressed his love for cinema. In 1949, he appeared as an actor in the film Two Worlds. In 1958 he began writing screenplays. His first screenplay was Crazy Girl.

Career

In 1959, Dalianidis directed the film The Scamp (I Mousitsa) which was a success and established him in the film world. He would continue directing comedies and romantic films until 1962 when he first came up with a new genre of Greek film: the musical.

He continued writing screenplays for romantic comedies and adapting plays which he directed for various production companies up until 1961, when he began working for Finos Film. His first film with Finos, "Downhill" (Katiforos) was a huge success. Since then he worked exclusively for Finos Film up until 1977, when the company's last film, Training Old Man Yorgis, was made.

In 1962, with his film Some Like It Cold, which was a box-office hit, Dalianidis introduced a film genre which had not existed up unti that point: the Greek musical, although he preferred to call it "musical comedy". The same success accompanied his next musicals (all featuring music by Mimis Plessas), establishing Dalianidis as the master craftsman of this genre.

He also made social dramas, starring Zoe Laskari, which were also hugely popular, while he continued adapting plays for the big screen.

An extremely prolific filmmaker, he made numerous films each year (most of them on his own screenplays), and was steadily number one at the box-office.

The year 1970 marked his debut as a stage director with the play Marijuana Stop. Following the end of commercial cinema in Greece, he moved on to TV (1974), writing and directing Luna Park, which ran successfully for several years. Another popular series of his was The Lion Cubs. In the early eighties and until 1985, filmgoers flocked to the movie theaters to watch his films about the problems faced by the younger generation, the first of which was The Jackals, in 1981. Starting in 1986 he began making films on video and worked on series made for private television.

Dalianidis worked with all film genres (drama, comedy, the musical, and the detective film), directing more than 60 films throughout his career and leaving his personal mark on all of them. Above all. however, his importance stems from the fact that he changed the timing and pace of Greek Cinema, by introducing into it an American philosophy. The public followed him faithfully - during the sixties his name was as big as the name of Aliki Vouyouklaki - and, very soon, so did his colleagues.

Dalianidis' style of fixed shots, singing, dancing and stylized poses caused a sensation and made his films immediately recognizable. Greek cinema is divided into the years before and after Dalianidis. He may not have been the greatest director to ever pass through Greek cinema, but he is the one who defined it more than any other.

Private Life

An adopted child, Dalianidis frequently spoke of his great love for his adoptive mother, revealing once that his love for her was the reason he did not leave Greece later for an international career. "It was unthinkable to me to leave behind an old woman after all that she had given to me."

He died October 16, 2010 after being hospitalized for a month.

References