When I returned to Greece in 1978 to prepare MILO MILO, all my good friends and colleagues were shooting commercials. In the 80s I didn't have to give in, because I was shooting my own movies and also designing sets in Germany. After the disappointing box office returns of LIVING DANGEROUSLY, I decided to leave for a while and practise the skill I knew best, but I left my flat temporarily to Panoussopoulos and Tsemberopoulos who had just founded the FILMIKI production Company and were looking for offices.

When after some years I returned to Athens for very personal reasons, FILMIKI had moved to the Ferron Street building, and they offered me a commercial for TACHYDROMOS magazine. Then began my irrepressible career in commercials, which neither POLIS nor PATERFAMILIAS were able to stop. Of course this happened during two decades when those who didn't advertise did not survive and there were several products that existed only in commercials, like election rallies and state campaigns for social programs and "cultural capitals".

Now that the party's over I could easily paraphrase a former minister and say "We advertised them together!"* if I hadn't bled every time I made films like THE BUBBLE and COOL to atone for my sins.

* He said: 'We spent it (the money) together!"


TAHYDROMOS (postman) is was not only my first commercial but also Maria Nafpliotou's – who claimed at the time that she didn't want to become an actress. I confess that seeing it after 25 years, I was pleased, perhaps because it was not very commercial. Three years later TAHYDROMOS folded. I heard that it had turned to politics at the expense of lifestyle...


One of the first commercials I shot at STEFI Film was for TEC cash registers. I wanted to do it in black and white to be reminiscent of the screwball comedies of the interwar period, but nobody was convinced.




The beginning of my tenure in advertising coincided with the emergence of digital visual effects, and when the aim of the advertisement was a pompous hyperbole of image or music or message, or usually all three, I had to exaggerate.



Once when I had had enough of digital effects I tried older, more primitive methods such as a roll of plastic sheeting for sea waves, styrofoam for a shark fin, and a papier mâché ocean liner with lights in the portholes.


For a GREEK TELECOM (OTE) corporate commercial, we froze for two days flying and shooting in a chopper without a door, from Kalogria in the Peloponnese, north to Metsovo, and then east to Euboea.


Seeing today the commercials of the first decade of the century it's impossible not to feel even retroactively their cynical complacency.



Two major companies gave us the opportunity to create a semantic monstrosity, exhausting the advertising stereotypes of the development vision of the era.

The futuristic architecture was photographed by George Argyroiliopoulos in Berlin, the talent was local and the monuments well known, the compositing was done on the computer. The companies, probably foreseeing the collapse of the social vision, wisely left the ad in some drawer.


An assignment I owe solely to my glorious military past.



In 1992 in Munich, I was talking about a movie with Carl Schenkel, for whose “Zwei Frauen” I had done the sets. Postdienst, a company that resulted from a split to privatize the Bundespost, wanted to publicise the change of postal codes by assigning known directors advertising spots of their own inspiration. Carl, an admirer of Fritz Lang, asked me to visualize an idea of his for the commercial. The production company found that the cost would exceed the budget by far and, in a fit of patriotic pride, I suggested shooting the spot in Greece. I also convinced STEFI Film to execute the production and I went to Athens to prepare. Carl came to do the final casting and the shooting, in which debuted the then 14-year-old Vicky, who starred in two of my latest movies.