Executive Producer for ERT:
Meeting Menis Koumantareas was a very happy time for me.
That came about apropos of his book “Seraphim and Cherubim”, which had come out in 1981. It was a compilation of short stories with characters based on the people in the district around Victoria Square, the place that had defined him and where his family home still was. We went there together and filmed him as and he walked me around those parts.
It was an extraordinary trip back in time. Many things were different, but others were essentially unchanged and that prodded his memory.
I really liked Koumantareas. He had an urbane refined sophistication and the cultivation one expected, things that are sadly lacking these days, especially in a period of crisis.
He was very truthful and forthright. Standing in front of the Pedion tou Areos monument or by the old “Green Park” or outside the train station on Victoria Square, his ad-lib narratives and commentary joined the past with what was going on at the time. In a strange way he was foreseeing the imminent crisis.
His murder was a great shock for me, as for so many. But I think he knew he was taking his chances about that possibility. And that is indicatory of a brave and passionate man.
I remember I visited him to show him the finished episode, in case he needed any changes. Thankfully, he was very pleased with it. As he walked me to the door, instead of a thanking me, he said “...if you ever need anything, do not hesitate to come to me. I happen to be at an age, when I have many good friends in high places and we can use them for something that really matters...”
I did not need anything, or rather, I never asked, but he was very kind and had put it vey nicely...