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Full list by date of death

Michael Cacoyannis


Born - 11 June 1922, Limassol, Cyprus
Died - 25 July 2011

Cypriot-born of Greek parentage, Cacoyannis (born Mikhalis Kakogiannis) made all his best films in heavily-contrasted black-and-white. Several of them shot by the Oscar-winning Walter Lassally, these are seething hotbeds of emotion, underlining both the country's actual poverties and its richnesses of spirit. The leading ladies of these films, Ellie Lambetti and Melina Mercouri, were never as haunting as with other directors. He acted briefly in British films - Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), Vice Versa (1947) - but had to return to Greece to begin his career as a director: Windfall in Athens (1953), Stella (1954), A Matter of Dignity (1957), Eroica/Our Last Spring (1959), The Wastrel (1960) and Electra (1961). Zorba the Greek (1964) proved something of a watershed; though not the director's best film, it was showered with Oscars. Cacoyannis' subsequent work was in colour and variable in quality to say the least: The Day the Fish Came Out (1967), The Trojan Women (1971), The Story of Jacob and Joseph, for TV in 1974), Iphigenia (1977), Sweet Country (1987), Pano, Kato kai Plagios (1993) and The Cherry Orchard (1999), a partial return to form but his last.