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  • An aerial view shows burnt houses and trees following a wildfire in the village of Mati, near Athens, Greece, July 25, 2018.

    An aerial view shows burnt houses and trees following a wildfire in the village of Mati, near Athens, Greece, July 25, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 July 2018

The filmmaker, who won the prestigious Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1998 for "Eternity and a Day", often spent summers with his family at the house in Mati, east of the capital.

The house and private archives of Greek cinema godfather Theo Angelopoulos, who died in 2012, were destroyed in this week's deadly wildfires near Athens, his widow said Thursday.

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"My husband's books, his letters from celebrities, all the texts that authors had dedicated to him" were destroyed in the fire, Phoebe Angelopoulou told local television.

She said the collection had also included texts and poems written by her late husband. She managed to flee the flames, which struck on Monday evening, with her granddaughter, but the house was severely damaged.

Angelopoulos pioneered Greece's "new wave" cinema following the fall of the country's military dictatorship in 1974. His works include "Landscape in the Mist" and "The Dust of Time". He was killed in a freak accident in January 2012 while filming "The Other Sea", a project to document the effects of Greece's debt crisis.

Greece said on Thursday it suspected arson was behind a devastating forest fire which killed at least 83 people and turned the small town of Mati east of Athens into a wasteland of death and destruction.

In one of the worst Greek disasters in living memory, Monday night's blaze trapped dozens of people in their cars trying to flee a barreling wall of flames.

"We have serious indications and significant signs suggesting the criminal actions of arson," Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas told a news conference. He said police had testimonies to that effect, but did not elaborate.

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