Festivals & Cycles

Ciné Hellénique - GOD LOVES CAVIAR

Upcoming: Ciné Hellénique, Tuesday 25th January at 19h00 and Wednesday 26th January at 21h00 in Ciné Utopia with the documentary GOD LOVES CAVIAR from Yannis SMARAGDIS, in original Greek and English version with English subtitles. Children admitted from the age of 12. The cinema Utopia is a CovidCheck location.

The film is based upon the true story of Ioannis Varvakis, a Greek caviar merchant and eventual benefactor from Psara who was formerly a pirate. He was born in Psara, and from an early age, he learned to navigate the seas, an occupation revered and steeped in tradition on the island where he grew up.

At the age of 17, he built his own ship, which he would later offer to the Russians during the Orlov Revolt. Ultimately, his ship was destroyed, and he turned to Saint Petersburg to ask for an audience with Catherine the Great. He was given compensation for the loss of his ship and granted authorization to fish freely in the Caspian Sea.

Due to his superb navigational skills and excellent seamanship abilities, he dominated the Caspian Sea and soon became substantially wealthy. When he initially discovered the superior caviar of the Beluga Sturgeon, he quickly discerned that there could be an incredible market trading for this product. From the caviar trade, he eventually became a millionaire and later donated part of his fortune for important works that improved the life of Russians and Greeks on the Black Sea coasts.

In his later years, he became a member of the Filiki Eteria, which would contribute to the overthrow of the Ottoman rule of Greece. He died in 1825 in Zante, during the Greek War of Independence. After his death, his entire estate went to the Ioannis Varvakis Foundation which would offer up important grants throughout Greece. The script follows the entire life of Varvakis, but the film's narration begins with his final moments in Zante.