9 Captivating Music Videos Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

How the critically acclaimed Greek filmmaker got his start
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Created by Marios Stamos

Published on Jul 8, 2024
yorgos lanthimos standing in front of a purple backdrop
Raph_PH Flickr

Yorgos Lanthimos is an acclaimed Greek filmmaker known for his distinctive, surrealist style and thought-provoking narratives. His unique vision and storytelling abilities have not only earned him critical acclaim but also a devoted following among cinephiles. With the recent release of his latest film "Kinds of Kindness" just a couple of weeks ago, it's a great time to look back at the beginnings of his career. Before his film career took off, Lanthimos worked on various projects, including music videos. In these early works, we catch glimpses of the style that would eventually propel him to global acclaim. Here are a few of his most noteworthy music video projects.

Deka Entoles (Ten Commandments) by Despina Vandi, released in 1997 as part of her album Deka Entoles. It quickly became a hit in Greece and is considered one of Vandi's signature tracks. The lyrics describe the singer's determination to protect her heart in a relationship by establishing boundaries. The song's production is a blend of traditional Greek laïka and contemporary pop elements, showcasing Vandi's versatile vocal range and emotional depth.

Stin Piso Tsepi Tou Blue Jean (In the Back Pocket of the Blue Jean) by Katerina Kirmizi, released in 1996 in her album, Concerto Gia Sokolata Kai Triantafylla (Concert for Chocolate and Roses) . The singer is alone and feels forgotten, left behind, like being put in the back pocket of a pair of blue jeans and being thrown away. She is pleading for an answer from a past lover, asking them what they want.

Theleis i De Theleis (Do You Want To Or Not) by Sakis Rouvas, released in 1998 as a four-track CD single from the album Kati Apo Mena (Something From Me). The song features Rouvas' signature pop style and showcases his powerful and emotive vocals. The lyrics express the singer's intense desire for his love interest, with the chorus repeating her if she feels the same way. The song's catchy melody and passionate lyrics have made it a staple of Greek pop music, and it continues to get major play in clubs and parties.

Moni Sou (By Yourself) by Dionisis Sxoinas, released in 1991 as part of his Dimosia Suggnomi (Public Apology) album. The song portrays a relationship in crisis, highlighting the narrator's feelings of frustration, disappointment, and ultimately, a sense of inevitability as they realize their partner's unwillingness to acknowledge or appreciate their efforts.

To Tragoudi Ston Aera (Song on the Air) by Kalliopi Vetta from her 1997 album Sti Xwra Twn Asmatwn (In the Land of Songs). The lyrics talk about the anguish and despair caused by a voice that's following the singer. She desperately tries to break free from this voice, but to no avail.

Woman in White by Greek-Cypriot singer Alexia Vassiliou, released in 1999 as part of her album The Lady of the Camellias. This captivating song talks about suffering and the need to find release from the pain. Vassiliou's haunting voice and the song's enchanting melody create a mesmerizing soundscape that transports listeners to a world of mystery and desire.

Enas Fantaros S' Ena Treno (A Soldier on a Train) by Haris Alexiou, released in 1998, on her To Paixnidi Tis Agapis (Game of Love) album. The song tells the story of a young soldier who is traveling on a train, reflecting on his life and his girlfriend that he has left behind. The lyrics express the soldier's feelings of loneliness and uncertainty. In Greece, where military service is mandatory, the song remains a popular choice for live performances and karaoke sessions by people already in the army and by those that are about to enlist.

Den Exei Sidera I Kardia Sou (Your Heart Doesn't Have Prison Bars) by Sakis Rouvas, released in 1998 as part of his album Kati Apo Mena (Something From Me). The lyrics express the realization that their partner's heart cannot hold them captive anymore, symbolized by the lack of prison bars to lock them in. The song reflects on the need to find a way to exist without their partner, even though they believe that one day, they might return and express regret for letting them go. It's a poignant and introspective song about the challenges of ending a relationship, the emotional turmoil that accompanies it, and the hope for eventual healing and growth.

Baby Asteroid by Greek-born, UK-based, singer-songwriter Timoleon Veremis, known professionally as Leon of Athens. The song was released in 2014 on his album, Global. The lyrics describe a cosmic journey, with the narrator inviting a baby asteroid to take them away to a pain free place where "angels dance in a heavenly blaze." The track's spacey flair and poetic lyrics make it a standout in Leon of Athens' discography.

As a Greek, I take immense pride in Lanthimos' international success and his ability to put our country's cinema on the global map. Yorgos Lanthimos’ journey from directing music videos in Greece to becoming an internationally acclaimed filmmaker gives hope to aspiring artists everywhere. It demonstrates the importance of believing in your vision and relentlessly pursuing your passion. 

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