Manakis Brothers: The pioneering Cinematographers of the Balkans

1905: the "Weavers", by the Manakis brothers. The first film to be shot in the Balkans.

The first Cinematographers in the Balkans are the brothers Ioannis and Miltiadis Manakia or Manaki, who worked as photographers in Ioannina. They were born in Avdella of Grevena, Vlachochori in Northern Pindos, in 1878 Giannakis and in 1882 Miltos. Greek sources consider them of Vlach origin, while Yugoslav Macedonians consider them to be of Vlach origin. In fact, it is an international film festival that bears their name and takes place every year in Monastiri. This is the International Cinematographers' Film Festival Manaki BROTHERS.

At the same time as the Lymière brothers, the Manakis, restless spirits, discovered the bioscope, a manual wooden camera for recording on film.

Their first film , "Weavers", was shot in 1905. It is a film of a few seconds that records the art of Weaving of that time. They film their grandmother, Despa Manaki, at the age of 117 years old, as well prepares wool for nodding; Here are footage with other fellow villagers. The film was shot in their village, Avdella. It will follow an important document, the teaching of the students of the time in an open-air school, in the same area.

Then the two brothers travel to areas of the Balkans, which at that time belong to the Ottoman Empire and record with their cinematic lens events of everyday life, people, landscapes, villages, feasts, customs, traditions, celebrations, but also historical events of the time, such as the Balkan Wars. Their legacy, thousands of historical photographs and 67 films of ethnological and ethnographic interest with content the important history of the Balkans.

In the Monastery of Yugoslavia in 1921, they created their own cinema hall, the "Cinema Brothers Manakia", which was completely destroyed by fire in 1939.

Theo Angelopoulos' film, "Odysseus' Gaze" (1995), recounts the wandering of an exiled director, who embarks on a journey through the Balkans in search of three lost bombs of the Manakis brothers' films. The Important Greek Director may be in this way he pays a kind of tribute to the two pioneering filmmakers of the Balkans.

Janaki Milton Manaki - CFF

The Manakis brothers with the camera.

Janaki Milton Manaki - CFF

"The Weavers", the first film of the Manakis brothers.

Janaki Milton Manaki - CFF

The teaching of the students of the time in an open-air school.

Scene from the film of Theo Angelopoulos "The Gaze of Odysseus".

Aggelopoulos - To Vlema Tou Odyssea - CFF

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