London Documentary: From Green Line To Green Lanes

A fascinating interactive documentary project serves up 14 video portraits of first and second generation Cypriots (both Greek and Turkish) that live and work in North London.

The “Green Line” of the title is the one drawn in dark green crayon on a map of Cyprus by a British army officer in the wake of the intercommunal violence in 1964. Since the Turkish invasion in 1974, the Green Line has formally divided the country and is nowadays the site of a demilitarised zone, patrolled by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force.

Green Lanes, of course, starts at Newington Green and winds north a blooming long way into Enfield. The Haringey bit of it, in particular, was massively Cypriot in the 1960s and 70s — indeed, print shop owner, Tasos, remembers how Cypriots used to move house following the route of the 29 bus.

What shines through these 7 or 8 minute videos is a real sense of community among Cypriots, regardless of whether they speak Greek or Turkish. These are all hardworking people at the centre of not only the Cypriot community but the wider north London communities that they live in.

It’s also clear that the spirit of the motherland is alive and well — Cypriots are sociable, warm people who love food and music. Pringipessa owner, Andreas remarks how Cypriots will make cuts elsewhere rather than on going out and he has regulars who turn up every Friday and Saturday for live Greek music every week. Importance is placed on honesty, generosity and helping other people, along with a sadness that modern day Cyprus is lacking in such values.

For those who live in the area, it’s a privilege to hear the stories behind well-known local characters, peek behind the scenes and go through doors you wouldn’t normally — see the other side of Pringipessa’s dark windows, watch London Greek Radio broadcasting live, admire the original Heidelberg Press at Nicholas Printers, marvel at Paneri’s huge restaurant lurking behind an unassuming kebab shopfront and watch Mr Lefteris himself make bread.

Watch the trailer and get sucked into this compelling collection.

Film maker Natalia Kouneli was born in Athens, Greece. From Green Line to Green Lanes is part of her master’s dissertation at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication.

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  • Natalia Kouneli

    Hi, I’m the creator of Green Line to Green Lanes, Natalia Kouneli. Thank so much for posting this! If you need anything in the future don’t hesitate to contact me at fromgreenlinetogreenlanes@yahoo.co.uk. Thank you!

    • Kerem Hasan

      Natalia your email address is not working can you please check and provide it again as we are trying to contact you from Cyprus.

      • Guest

        Hi Kerem,
        the email address above is correct, are you sure you sent me an email to this email address?

  • Karen

    We have recently moved to northern Cyprus in the karpaz area. We can say that the people we have met here have been lovely, kind generous and willing to help with all the problems we can’t do ourselves. Those old values are very much still practised here.