Nearly 40 cinemas in Melbourne, Australia, screened films from Greece during the post-World War II peak of moviegoers and the mass arrival of Greek immigrants in the country.
ABC Radio Australia has released a fascinating podcast episode featuring experts and scholars who share the story of how these Australian cinemas served not only as a window to faraway Greece — left behind by tens of thousands of immigrants — but also how the cinemas helped establish a cultural awareness and identity which has become one of the tightest knit Greek communities worldwide.
As the podcast explains, three Greek men operated most of the cinemas in Melbourne circuit. These three men overcame their commercial differences and created Cosmopolitan Motion Pictures, a force to be reckoned with in Australia.
Greek immigrants fled to Australia (among other countries in the world) en masse in the mid-20th century. By the 1950s, Greece had been decimated economically, socially and politically by the Nazi occupation of WWII and the Greek civil war which came almost immediately after.
Among other activities, moviegoing became a common outing for Australia’s newest citizens who brought their own country’s culture and traditions with them.
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