Between 1940 and 1971 Gregory Markopoulos made circa twenty-seven films in 16mm plus two 35mm films and several 8mm films. His earliest films were shown in the context of post-war avant-garde festivals, film society screenings, university presentations etc. He also published essays on films and filmmaking, starting in the mid-1950s.
In the early 1970s, after his New American Cinema experience in New York and his subsequent move to Europe, he began to develop his vision for a film archive and projection space. He named it, The Temenos, meaning ‘a place set apart or a sacred precinct’. He described this ideal projection space as a gift to the serious film viewer, the New Cinema Spectator.
Markopoulos made another 66 films in the next two decades and ultimately gathered nearly all of his films, radically re-edited, in a final work in twenty-two parts that included most of his film portraits, films of place and of mythic love themes. The title of this final 80-hour silent film, Eniaios, evokes the combined qualities of ‘unity’ and ‘uniqueness.’ Markopoulos spliced the film but left it unprinted at the time of his death in 1992.
I saw how the idea of the Temenos fortified Markopoulos’s filmmaking and allowed his vision to reach its full maturity. In the decades following his death, I created the Temenos Association and Temenos Inc. to support the Archive. Inter-negatives and projection copies of Markopoulos’s early films were made, and retrospectives were organized internationally for a public that had never seen his work.
Eniaios presented more daunting challenges in film restoration and laboratory costs due to its length and the extreme complexity (and fragility) of its editing. The first significant impetus to save Eniaios came from Schwyzer-Winiker Foundation and our Swiss friends.
The Temenos website is intended for the community of New Cinema Spectators, interested in Markopoulos’s filmmaking and poetics. It will also serve as a record of our work to save Eniaios. Our commitment is to photochemical film and the projection event. Questions related to film restoration and preservation will be tested by the results that we are able to reach and through our collaborations with other institutions.