Nikos Xanthopoulos: “The child of the people” that caused frenzy in the ’60s

His own seal in Greek left the “child of the people” loved by the public as few actors. He was discerned by his modesty, despite the fact that in the 1960s the hearing of his name caused frenzy. Nikos Xanthopoulos, in the mid-60s, through the films of the commercial club FILM, became one of the most beloved actors of the public and especially in the slums of Athens and the district. Where the yard of summer cinematographers or rough – handed halls regularly accommodated his films and became panic. “What’s the movie today?” “The child of the people”. In the 1960 ’ s no more talk or information was needed for the film. And only the photos of Nikos Xanthopoulos in the cinema screens were enough to sound an alarm in the neighborhood, to reach the message even to the old lady who left the house at the margins of her street only or for Sunday service. In these neighborhoods with the mudwaters and cinemas that grew and flourished better than the sprouts, Nikos Xanthopoulos’ films cut countless tickets. No one can calculate how many million tickets were cut in the so-called second screening of his films, because then we only had data on the first screening films. That is, the tickets that were only cut in Athens and Piraeus. And because there weren’t a few people watching both two, three and thirteen times the same film as the people’s idol, we’re probably talking about several million tickets. Besides, KLAK FILM in that decade became the third, possibly the second, most commercial film production company in Greece, while it should be noted that several of its films never passed through the first screening and went directly to the districts of Athens or the province. We are talking about a phenomenon, which today is difficult to understand the reasons for its success, with the, often extravagant, melodramas in which it starred. Melodramas that the critics, the bourgeois and intellectuals of the time have bathed in. Sometimes the Left, without revealing its embarrassment in the face of the incredible success of Xanthopoulos and his permanent director Apostolos Tegopoulos. Filling in 90 years since his birth (14 March 1934), it is an opportunity to remember the difficult course of Nikos Xanthopoulos towards the top, the reasons for his success in the folk song and his recognition as the “child of the people”. Refugees and AEKara Nikos Xanthopoulos was born in the refugee neighborhood of New Ionia, where he grew up in poverty and in difficult conditions. A child of Pontius refugees, with his father, who was occasionally a shoemaker and fisherman, imprisoned during the occupation for his resistance action. He grew up with his mother, another heroine, who took care of the raising of her child, as his father had the habit of “disappearing” for long periods of time. “One day he went to get wine and made it back six months…”, he wrote in his biography, released in 2005 entitled “As Much as I Remember And As I Loved”. In his teen years he will obtain a bulletin on his favorite team as an athlete. His “AEKara”, to which he remained faithful until the end. Indalma Katrakis, teacher Katerina Having as his idol Manos Katrakis, will decide from a young age to engage in acting, going to study at the Drama School of the National Theatre, while his first appearance in the theatre made him in 1957 in the company of Mrs. Katerina, with the comedy “Virginia”. Mrs. Katerina, was his teacher for Xanthopoulos, and then managed to work with Manos Katrakis’ idol and his troupe, in the “Song of the dead brother”. In 1958 he will make his film debut, in Philippa Prison’s comedy “The Collector”, while then playing the bad and tough guy in second roles, until the 1960s come to work with producer and director Apostolos Tegopoulos, taking off his career. CLACK FILM AND MELOdrama With KLAK FILM and director Tegopoulos, he will make 24 films, having as co-stars many actors of the National Theatre, from Manos Katrakis and Pantelis Zervos, to Eleni Zaphirios and Theodore Moridis. All with melodramatic scenarios and melodramatic direction, which printed him into roles of poor and persecuted, permanently wronged, courageous lad, who will do anything for his love, poor girl or rich girl, who will deny her hard father or better will bring him straight. Films, with screaming, titles such as “Dream With My Sweet” (1965), “Sometimes Cry and the Strong” (1967), “Unfair Curse” (1967), “Rought Generation” (1968), “Humble and Depressed” (1968) “The Seal of God” (1969), “Poor Neighborhood Love” and the epic “The Odyssey of an uprooted” (1969). His good voice and Kaldaras His poor childhood, his love for ordinary people and their struggles for survival, gave him a naturality in his roles, and he also used his good voice, with the help of Apostolos Kaldaras, performing folk songs, making a huge success as a singer. In fact, he recorded nine records and 55 singles, while appearing in large entertainment centers and making tours around the world, with unprecedented success. Social cinema made in Greece Today, his films mainly have a nostalgic value, while younger people most of the time hold back their laughter, so as not to offend Grandma or Grandpa who tries to hold back their tears. In the 1960 ’ s, however, conditions and conditions were completely different. Huge sections of the population lived in poverty, in neighborhoods that had neither running water or sewerage, experienced the exploitation of those who even enriched themselves in possession, a system of power that was irrevocable and often vindictive. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people took the way of alienation for a better tomorrow, heating up the German fabrikes. Stories, described by the films of Xanthopoulos, even if they did not have the background to talk about the deeper causes, to pass messages of awakening, such as in Italy and more generally in Europe, where there was an uprising with political and combat cinema. However, let us not harshly judge the simple melodramas of Tegopoulos, as the times were difficult for art, with the imposition of the police state and then with the dictatorship of the colonels. Nikos Xanthopoulos withdrew from the cinema in the early 70s, returned for a while playing in television series, made two or three videos, while his last appearance on the sail was in 1995 in George Gervoulou’s film “With Orpheus in August”. “Robin of the Forests” His personal life was left out of the spotlight, while for many years he lived only with his family, his four children, after two marriages and his five grandchildren and good friends, pulled off his farm in Paiania. The “Robin of the Forests” of the Greek cinema, who worshiped women and men, will die after many health problems last year, on January 22, 2023. Nikos Xanthopoulos may not have left behind any great film work, but he will always remind us of a time when his original popularity was synonymous with kindness, brawl, sacrifice. And of course the courage it gave the people, with its deep characteristic sigh, in front of any problem.

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