Alkyonis first opened in 1969. As you might already know, that was right in the middle of the military dictatorship, which lasted from 1967 to 1974.
It quickly became a bastion of culture and a hub for cinephile audiences, especially of a ‘leftist’ inclination (a serious transgression those days). There was apparently a joke during the dictatorship that went: ‘why doesn’t the secret police just pay a visit to Alkyonis? They’d have every member of the resistance gathered in one room.” Theodoros Angelopoulos debut feature film Reconstitution was first exclusively played there in 1971.
After the dictatorship ended and the communist party was legalised, Alkyonis was a centre for Soviet and many other smaller films that flew under the mainstream radar. It closed in the ’90s, but was revived and reopened by the independent film distributor New Star just in 2014.
Enough with the history though. I found out about this place very recently, and I’ve just fallen in love with its all-day art plex program, its authentic retro throwback style and its great offers (Mon 2 tickets for 1 / Tue – Wed 5€). Check out the rare beers at the bar, too.
My first experience there was with Lanthimos’ ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’; I couldn’t have chosen a more appropriately strange film to watch there first.
I’m happy that Alkyonis exists. Having such a truly alternative hub for cinema culture in the city is just as important today as in ’69.
Note: in true indie fashion, they neglect to update their website. Check their schedule here.