Although he left Cyprus at the age of 17, Michael Cacoyannis’ ties with his beloved country have always been strong; not least as most of his family still live there.
In July 1974, when the Turkish invasion of Cyprus was launched, Michael Cacoyannis was staging Oedipus at the National Theatre of Ireland. In a state of shock, and not knowing any other way to “fight”, he rushed to Cyprus to record the facts. With just a cameraman and a sound engineer, Michael Cacoyannis filmed a unique documentary of the Cyprus tragedy: “Attilas ’74” – “The Rape of Cyprus”.The Documentary is his own testimony on the island’s tragedy, and the events that had preceded the invasion. Using interviews with politicians, and with ordinary people, it was a vivid and timely record whose purpose was to raise international awareness of the suffering of the people of Cyprus, urging foreign governments and peoples to support them in their cause.
Touched by everything he saw, heard and lived while filming “Attila ’74”, Michael Cacoyannis felt the need for a more personal involvement with the victims. On hearing that in the area of Agion Anargyron (St. Anargyres) there was an immediate need for an elementary school for refugee children, he arranged a meeting with the Minister of Education, and made his donation for the new school building. The inauguration of the school took place on 28 January 1978 and it was named Michael Cacoyannis’ Elementary School of St. Anargyres.