Famous Travel Writers and Movies - Mani
Before Midnight (movie) – A Big Love in Messinian Mani
Which set director wouldn’t envy a scenery as beautiful and as idyllic as the images and landscapes of the Messinian part of Mani, all along the coast of Messinia and at the foot of Mt Taygetos? Before Midnight is the third film by awarded Richard Linklater, featuring the love affair between the French activist Celine (Julie Delpy) and American writer Jesse (Ethan Hawke). It’s the third cinema rendezvous of the couple, preceded by Before Sunrise in Vienna (1995) and Before Sunset in Paris (2004).
Shootings took place in the house of the famous Greek philhellene Patrick Leigh Fermor in the area of Kardamyli, during summer 2012. But this was not Ethan Hawke’s first professional trip to Greece, as he took part in Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale brought by Sam Mendes to the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus in the 2009 edition of the Epidaurus Festival.
Before filming started, the director and the stars stated how happy they were the next sequel of the love affair of Celine and Jesse would be made in Greece. Before the Berlinale’s triumphant first screening of the film, its director said he couldn’t shoot the film anywhere else in the world, as Messinia is the perfect backdrop for one to depict what human relationships are really about.
Mani : Land of great writers
In Messinian Mani, within a few miles distance, there are three places not to be missed for lovers of travel literature. The beach where Nikos Kazantzakis lived and worked with the real Zorbas. The house where Patrick Leigh Fermor lived until the end of his life and the place where he spread Bruce Chatwin ashes … We can not say for sure if it was faith, the beauty of nature or the particular energy in the air. The fact is that only a few kilometers away and at different times have lived in this area three of the great writers.
Nikos Kazantzakis (1883 – 1957)
is the author of books like “Zorba the Greek” and “The Last Temptation of Christ”, both of which also become successful films. And it is here on the beach Kalogria , just outside Stoupa where Kazantzakis has spent more than a year working with the person who would give him the inspiration for his famous book. Alexis Zorbas was an existing person, although in reality it was called Yorgos, and he had no idea that he was destined to become the world’s most famous of the “literary greeks”, even more after being impersonated by the unforgettable Anthony Quinn in 1964 film.
The beach of Kalogria in Stoupa had the misfortune of being named one of the best beaches in Greece and since then has been taken by assault! The result? Five rows of umbrellas and no place to stay… shame.
Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915 – 2011)
The man who fell for Mani’s charms
Travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, who died on 2011, called this Peloponnese peninsula home.
In England he is considered one of the greatest travel writers of all times. ….A character who has influenced the history not only with his books, but also with his service during World War II when, at the side of the resistance, he was the protagonist of the abduction of General Kreipe in Crete.
He soon began his career as a tireless traveler when, 18 years old, he traveled on foot from Hook in Holland to Istanbul to continue later to Greece.
In his literary work includes books as A Time to Keep Silence and Mani – Travels in the Southern Peloponnese.
Mani is the place where he decided to retire and live until the end of his life.
The house is located just outside Kardamili in a dream location and was donated to the Benaki Museum foundation, with the purpose of being used for hosting writers and researchers to help them in their work, as was the tradition when Fermor was alive.
Bruce Chatwin (1940 – 1989)
Another traveler and writer who needs no introduction…..He had been so fascinated by the beauty of Mani where, thanks to the hospitality of P. L. Fermor, he had stopped for long periods and it went so far as to ask his friend to scatter his ashes right there in Kardamyli after his death. The selected location is magical, a small Byzantine church a few kilometers on foot from the Fermor’s house, just outside the village of Chora. There is not a plaque or inscription for those who want to bring tribute, the reference point is the olive tree in front of the church.
Bruce Chatwin, the mercurially brilliant and self absorbed English travel writer often visited Mani during the late seventies and early eighties and wrote “The Songlines” in Kardamili where he stayed near Paddy and Joan Leigh Fermor at Kalamitsi. St. Nikolaos in the Chora was a favourite location of his – for walks or al fresco picnics. When he died of AIDS in 1989 one of his wishes was to have his ashes scattered near this church.