During the first decade of the 20th century films imported from France, Italy, and Germany were shown as part of popular variety shows that also featured the renowned Karaghiozis shadow theatre and epitheorissi (satirical sketches and songs), both of which are said to have influenced the subsequent development of Greek cinema. The Manaki Brothers, Yannakis and Milto, made the first locally produced film in 1905, a documentary titled Gyanikes pou klotoun/The Weavers. Athens quickly became home to a number of small production companies and the first Greek feature film was a traditional love story, titled Golfo (Kostas Bahatoris, 1914). In the 1920s a film industry developed, with forty feature films produced between 1925 and 1935. During this period the studio Dag-Film (founded in 1918) produced a number of history films, operettas, and literary adaptations, as well as pioneering the foustanella genre (based on folkloric tradition and compared by some critics to the western). Comic actor, Nikos Sfakianos made a series of popular two-reelers under the persona ‘Villar’; and a patriotic melodrama, Eros kai kymata/Love and Waves, directed by Dimitris Gaziadis, broke box-office records in 1927. Panoyiotis Dadiras’s O agapitikos tis voskopoulas/The Lover of the Shepherdess, the earliest Greek-language synchronized sound film, was released in 1932: grounding Greek national identity in a certain nostalgically imagined rural idyll, the film is considered by critics to be an important contribution to the ‘mountain film’ genre.
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