A Family Affair (Australia / Greece)

2015 Australia/Greece

SUNDAY 21 August 10.00 am
TUESDAY 23 August 8.15 pm
RUNNING TIME 87 minutes


This documentary presents an intimate and intoxicating portrait of the renowned Xylouris family, who have been maintaining the musical traditions of their native Crete throughout their lives. Following three generations of the family and moving between Greece and Melbourne where the children now live, study and play, the film is a portrait of family life, influence and legacy, as well as a thrilling examination of the way an age-old and vibrant musical tradition has been passed across generations and transcends national boundaries.


Playing music in the Xylouris family was never an expectation; it was simply hoped that the Xylouris children would follow in the footsteps of their predecessors. It began with Nikos Xylouris – a symbol of resistance against the Greek dictatorship – and his brother, Psarantonis, the living legend who reinvented Cretan music. Psarantonis now heads three generations of musicians, with the same love and passion for Crete and its traditional rhythms.

The award winning Athenian director, Angeliki Aristomenopoulou, first met the Xylouris family three years ago, while filming a documentary. She was filming in a shepherd’s stone hut on a mountain near Anogia, where Psarogiorgis and his sons were playing around the fire. Surprised by the energy of the family, the strong ties connecting the generations and the respect they showed for each other, Angeliki thought their family would make a great story. ‘Gradually, the Xylouris clan accepted me into their world, and allowed me to observe the intimate moments of their lives. I have become fascinated by their unique bond to music, which connects them both to the land they come from and to each other,’ the director says.

Making films in Greece is difficult at the moment, as the director Aristomenopoulou explains – there is no money and we all need a positive story. This is a ‘story about the past that looks towards the future and that’s why I believe the film can resonate so powerfully to a modern, multi-ethnic audience and can help regenerate Greece. Apollonia. Psarogiorgis and his wife Shelagh connect the family and provide the heart of the film. I was also very lucky to be able to film the first ever performance of the three generations of the Xylouris family playing together,’ she concludes.

Source: http://neoskosmos.com/news/en/a-xylouris-family-affair, Edited extracts/accessed 10/3/16