Special: Greece

Ilias Petropoulos – Enas kosmos ypogeios

Elias Petropoulos – An Underground World
Kalliopi Legaki
GR 2005
61 min

Kalliopi Legaki’s documentary covers the story of the amazing life of Elias Petropoulos, a great chronicler of Greek popular culture and low life. Petropoulos, born in 1928 in Athens, was best known for his work on the rembetika songs of the urban underworld, the so-called Greek blues, which, in 1968, he was the first to anthologize and study in their social context. He wrote 80 books and innumerable articles on such overlooked, despised or repressed subjects as Turkish coffee, street names, hats, the Jews of Salonika, brothels, urban gangs, prison life and cemeteries. Essentially an anarchist, Petropoulos preferred to remain outside the establishment, the better to launch his occasional attacks on politicians, the police, the church, academics and others he deemed hypocritical or malicious. Petropoulos grew up in Salonika during the German occupation – his father, a volunteer, was killed when he was 16 – and the Greek civil war, and studied law at Salonika University. From this background, he emerged with a sharp eye for the shadow side of human nature, an enduring sympathy for the underdog and outsider, a profound streak of melancholy and a mischievous sense of humour. Elias Petropoulos died in Paris in 2003. (Eve Jackson)


  • Elias Petropoulos
  • Kalliopi Legaki
  • Giannis Misouridis
  • Giorgos Vassiliou
  • Elias Demetriou
Portolanos Films, GFC & ERT

Portolanos Films

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