Throwback Thursday: Happy 10th Birthday to Brides!


I am in my Homeland!

No… I am not in Carrie & Brody world 🙂 I am just back in Turkey, the country that I was born and grew up in, for a few weeks to visit with family. To be precise, I am in Izmir, my hometown, a beautiful city on Turkey’s West Coast that has a rich Greek heritage that reflects itself in all ways of life, which I LOVE. And, believe it or not, my hometown rings a bell about Damian Lewis that I want to talk about today! Damian has a movie in which we first meet him in Izmir (Smyrna in Greek).

Brides (Nyfes), anyone?

Since I am in Izmir, it’s very proper to have a Throwback Thursday to a decade earlier… to visit this beautifully shot and told love story Brides — a relatively lesser known movie in which Damian Lewis plays an American… again 🙂


Brides (Nyfes) is a 2004 movie directed by celebrated Greek Director Pantelis Voulgaris and starring Damian Lewis and Victoria Haralabidou in the lead roles. The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2004, and won the Best Film Award at the Greek State Film Awards, a part of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in 2004. If you haven’t seen it yet, the movie is available for purchase on Amazon.


Damian Lewis plays Norman Harris, an American photographer, in the movie. We first meet him in Smyrna with a camera in hand shouting at a group of kids in Turkish: “Cocuklar! (Hey, Kids!)” He speaks with the children lovingly and ties a piece of cloth to a wish tree with them! Norman is in Smyrna for work, he is taking war photos from the Greco – Turkish war in 1922. However, they find his photos “too artsy to publish” and so Norman sells his camera to a colleague and jumps on a ship that will take him back home, and to a troubled marriage. The ship is full of “mail-order brides” going to America to their arranged marriages — a little known, true event. Norman is traveling first-class whereas the brides are all in third-class.

One of these young brides is Niki (Haralabidou), a seamstress, from Samothrace, Greece. She is on her way to America to fulfill a marriage contract and save her family honor. Norman feels attracted to this young woman — her beauty, her pride and her strength. The two cannot help falling for each other while they are very much aware of the invisible boundaries that ultimately separate them.

Niki: [in Greek] You have such beautiful eyes.

Norman: What did you say?

Niki: It smells like it’s going to rain.


Just because the movie has a first class and a third class voyager falling for each other, you may envision this love story a Titanic of sorts… Don’t! When you see Brides, one of the first things you notice is the contrast Hollywood and European Cinema have in story telling… Brides is an art-house movie. It’s sad but not at your face sad. It’s subtle. It’s quiet. It’s poetic. And, I don’t want to spoil it here but would love to note that the movie has one of the most poetic love scenes I have ever seen in any movie — and I’ve seen A LOT! Let me just say you will know it when you see it!

We will come back to Brides, a beautiful, sad and subtle love story that strikes more than a few chords with me, and back to Damian’s character Norman Harris, one of my secret crushes along with Nicholas McGrade in Colditz — but today’s throwback is about the film’s very special 10th BIRTHDAY!

The Museum of the Moving Image organized a special screening in collaboration with the Onassis Center and NYC Greek Film Festival last fall to celebrate the 10th Birthday of the movie as well as to honor the director Voulgaris, one of the most celebrated contemporary Greek film directors.

source: gettyimages
Director Voulgaris with Haralabidou and Lewis at TIFF 2004 source: gettyimages

From Museum of the Moving Image website: “Pantelis Voulgaris is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Greek film directors, and his outstanding film Brides was produced by Martin Scorsese. Brides takes place in 1922, on a ship that sails from Smyrna, Greece, with mail-order brides bound for New York. The complex intersection of new and old world ways of life is embodied in a shipboard romance between an American photographer and a Greek seamstress.”

Back to the screening…  Well, it was SOLD OUT and there was a post-screening conversation with Voulgaris and the screenwriter Ioanna Karystiani, hosted by Variety chief film critic Scott Foundas.

The tweet by the Onassis Center from the event is beautiful.

source: @OCCNY twitter account


Talent is great.

Professional integrity is amazing.

A director praising an actor’s talent and professional integrity on the 10th anniversary of the movie is PRICELESS.

Happy Birthday, BRIDES!

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

13 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Happy 10th Birthday to Brides!”

  1. How funny! I have recently returned from Greece and while I was there, all my memories from the past came back. Greece has a special place in my heart, always been and always will be… All this time, Nyfes was playing over and over in my head… This movie will stay with me forever; in fact I was planning to watch it again and this blog post just popped out:-) You know my heart intuitively Damianista:-)

    1. Hey, Gozdecan, I missed you!!! Hope you had a lovely time in Greece and I know I have incredible serendipity with you, too, so I am not surprised a bit!!!! Brides is a fantastic movie, and the connection to my hometown is naturally incredible, and Damian’s first word in the movie being “Cocuklar!” is just lovely! Happy to say though this is the second Turkish word I heard from him — the first one was my name 😀 I have special ties to Greece, because my dad’s side lived there for generations — unfortunately have never been there tho. Maybe it’s time!

  2. My dear Damianista; I miss you too!! I think you will always be Damian’s special Turkish 🙂 I have heard him talking about Istanbul in the movie called ‘Will’… He’s definitely got some special Turkish ties; also If I am not wrong, both Will’s and The Queen of Desert’s production companies have some Turkish connections..

    Greece is the country of romance and love:-) I was so lucky to visit this beautiful land during their days of glory, happiness, abundance…. It really hurts me to see what they are going through right now…. Nyfes is very timely… You must visit them and if you ever go, I have a big family in Athens; they will look after you like you are their own daughter my dear…..

    1. Yes, both Will and QOTD have connections to Turkey, in particular Damian’s character Charles Doughty Wylie lived and in fact died in Turkey; I had blogged about them but I think I will go back to them one more time… just because i feel the connection more here in Turkey now 🙂 Greece will recover but I am sad, too, about what they are going through right now – and when I go, I’ll let you know so that I can learn about your big family in Athens. Much love!

  3. I will send you my love exactly in their way of saying to me then: ” Efharisto Yavrum; filakia polla polla:-) “;-)

  4. This is one of my favorite movies, I like this love story, and I love Damian in the role of a tender, desperate, lover!
    Sorry for my bad English

    1. I know Damianista will tell you this Monique but before she gets in her hands I will tell you- your English is perfect and I think you have defined Damian’s role in this movie really well! Tender and desperate lover!! Beautiful:-)

    2. Gozde is right, Monique, your English is perfect and we LOVE your comments on the blog! You are a GREAT fan, and your words about Damian are always very heartfelt — thank you for reading and please keep your comments coming in! Much love!

    1. Haha – that’s a TREAT for everybody now! Olga, you ROCK! Thanks also for sharing it on the Facebook page! Cheers to this wonderful movie and cheers to Greece! Much love!

  5. Cocuklarrrrr- this is fab; thanks a million:-) I have my late night entertainment now!! I will go home, watch my wonderful Greek movie with my Damian in it and I will cry my eyes out! This one and all other Greek movies always make me cry, I dont know why; I cry reading Greek novels too. In fact, my favorite Greek novel ‘Red Dyed Hair’by Kostas Moriselas must be made into a movie and Damian must be the main actor of this movie:-)

    1. You should have ideas about why Damian Lewis should be the main character in Red Dyed Hair — why don’t you write it down? Always happy to share as a great guest blog 😀

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