Leonidas and his heroic band of 300 Spartans will enjoy a "homecoming" of sorts Wednesday evening in the eponymous southern Greek town of Sparta, nearly 25 centuries after falling to a man at Thermopylae, as Zack Snyder's big-screen epic "300" will be shown in tandem with a weeklong exhibition devoted to Frank Miller's comics, whose graphic novel is the basis for "300".
"The film '300' isn't a historical movie but an artistic one, the visualisation of a comics novel. If you distinguish this crucial point, then you'll be liberated; if you see it (the film) differently, then you'll have several objections," exhibition director Panos Papadolias, himself a native of modern-day Sparta, said.
Anticipation for the Warner Bros. production has been brewing in the east Mediterranean country for months, with an "avant premiere" Tuesday evening of the film shown on all 15 screens of an upscale Athenian mall's cineplex. Press reports on Wednesday cited figures of up to 15,000 tickets sold for Thursday's nationwide debut of the unabashedly gory and at times surrealistic account of Leonidas' last stand before the immense army led by Persian emperor Xerxes at Thermopylae, central Greece, in 480 BC.
Meanwhile in Sparta, the distinctly laidback seat of Laconia prefecture in the extreme southeast of the Peloponnese, local officials hope the film will spark increased interest and more tourist arrivals through their inland town.
"It's an opportunity to promote Laconia and Sparta and to show that ancient Sparta was not just a war machine, as depicted in the film, but that it also had its own civilisation, poetry, music and culture," prefect Constantinos Fourlas told an Athens daily on Wednesday.
In response to criticism over the movie's colossal doses of violence and historical inaccuracies, Sparta Mayor Sarantos Antonakos said the movie still qualifies as a distinct honor for the area, despite occasional divergences from the actual battle, "which is sacred for us and for all humanity."
The exhibition on Frank Miller features large stills of his works displayed along a pedestrian way adjacent to Sparta's archeological museum.
Source: Athens News Agency