The Greek Films of the 62nd Thessaloniki Festival
We are delighted to unveil the 35 full feature films, as well as the15 short films, that will be screened at the 62nd Thessaloniki Film Festival. As every year, the Festival is offering the audience the chance to watch two Greek cinema gems in accessibility format screenings, in collaboration with Alpha Bank, the Festival’s accessibility sponsor. In this year’s edition the accessible films are no other than What Did You Do in the War, Thanassi? by Dinos Katsourides, featuring Thanassis Vengos, and Doxobus by Fotos Labrinos. Let it be noted that the online screening of the films will also be accessible.
The 62nd TIFF welcomes 20 Greek films that celebrate their premiere in the Festival. Among them, three take part in the International Competition section: Holy Emy by Araceli Lemos, Moon, 66 Questions by Jacqueline Lentzou and Pack of Sheep by Dimitris Kanellopoulos. Another three Greek films participate in the Meet the Neighbors competition section: .dog by Yianna Americanou, 18 by Vassilis Douvlis and The Man with the Answers by Stelios Kammitsis. In addition, another triplet of Greek films is found in the >>Film Forward competition section: Magnetic Fields by Giorgos Goussis, ORFEAS2021 directed by the performance art duo FYTA and The Timekeepers of Eternity by Aristotelis Maragkos. Moreover, the 62nd TIFF is screening eight masterpieces of Greek cinema, within the framework of the initiative “Motherland, I See You: The 20th Century of Greek Cinema”, held by the Hellenic Film Academy, under the auspices of the “Greece 2021” Committee, and sponsored by the National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication (grand sponsor), the Greek Film Centre, Athens Epidaurus Festival and Thessaloniki Film Festival, with the support of the Greek Film Archive and Finos Film. “Motherland, I See You: The 20th Century of Greek Cinema” is an initiative dedicated to salvaging, digitalizing, screening and studying films from the diverse heritage of the 20th century Greek cinema.
The majority of the program’s Greek films will also be available online, through the Festival’s platform.
The three-member advisory committee that assisted the Festival in the pre-selection of the Greek movies was comprised of: Georgis Grigorakis (director), Christina Moumouri GSC (cinematographer) and Maria Markouli (journalist):
The Greek Film Festival is held over the last five years without hosting a competition section, as prescribed by law. However, a series of prizes and awards have been established, aiming to reinforce Greek cinema.
- FISCHER Audience Award.
- The Greek Film Center Award, accompanied by a 5,000 euros cash prize, granted to a debutant director, in a Greek production having its premiere in the official selection (“First Run”) and the Best Location Award, accompanied by a 1,500 euros prize, bestowed by the Hellenic Film Commission of the GFC to a location manager (or a director in case of no location manager in the film) of a film by a debutant director in a Greek production premiering at the official selection.
- Τwo awards bestowed by ERT S.A. (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation). The first one, accompanied by a 3,000 euros prize, is given to the film selected by the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI). The second award by ERT S.A. is bestowed to the Greek project awarded within the framework of the Agora Lab-Works in Progress.
- The J.F. Costopoulos Foundation Award is bestowed to a film that presents a comprehensive aesthetic proposition, promotes the art of cinema and demonstrates its affinities with the other arts. The J.F. Costopoulos Foundation Award aims to support the Greek film industry production. The members of this year’s independent jury that will bestow the award to a Greek film celebrating its premiere at the 62nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival are: Angeliki Antoniou, director, Rea Apostolides, producer, and Yorgos Frentzos , cinematographer GSC.
- The award of the International Federation of Film Critics – FIPRESCI.
- The award of the Greek Film Critics Association bestowed to a Greek film screened at the Greek Film Festival.
- The Youth Jury Awards (Best Feature Film Award and Special Youth Jury Award), bestowed by a jury of students from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Macedonia University of Thessaloniki.
Thessaloniki Festival, through its official selection and Agora’s actions, offers support to Greek cinema by means of actions, programs, awards and prizes, administering for the second consecutive year a fee to all Greek films of the official selection.
Moreover, it persists in boosting Greek films travelling abroad, offering 3,000 euros per film to all directors who take part in the most prestigious international film festivals (Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Locarno, Karlovy Vary, San Sebastián, Rotterdam, New York, Tribeca, Toronto, Sundance, Busan, IDFA, Hot Docs, Nyon) with their debut or sophomore film. Recent examples, participating at this year’s Festival, are the films Holy Emy by Araceli Lemos, screened at the Locarno Festival, and Moon, 66 Questions by Jacqueline Lentzou, screened at the Berlinale.
The Festival is also providing an invaluable chance to Greek directors to showcase their work before professionals from the international field. Movies from this year’s Greek production will be screened at Cinando online platform – one of the most important tools for cinema professionals on a worldwide scale.
Let us take a glance at the recent production of Greek films:
Debutant and promising directors, as well as experienced filmmakers, entrusted us with their films yet for another year. Here’s an overview of the 62nd TIFF’s films, in alphabetical order.
Echoes of the Past – Nicholas Dimitropoulos
When the Greek government launches a multi-billion World War II reparations claim for the Kalavryta Massacre committed by German occupying forces, it propels the top-notch lawyer for the German government and the last living survivor of the tragedy into a harrowing journey through this dark chapter of history.
Holy Emy – Araceli Lemos
After their mother returns to the Philippines, sisters Emy and Teresa live within their tight-knit Filipino Catholic community in the port city of Athens. But when Teresa gets pregnant, Emy is increasingly drawn to other, more mysterious forces that live within her.
Luger – Kostas Haralabous
The events of this film, spanning from the very first moments after the Occupation until the first years of the 1980s. This is the period where the adventurous journey of a powerful family is illustrated, in these crucial years for Greek history.
Magnetic Fields – Giorgos Goussis
Having met by chance on the way to an island, a woman and a man decide to wander around together in search of a good place to bury a metallic box.
Moon, 66 Questions – Jacqueline Lentzou
After years of distance, Artemis has to get back to Athens due to her father’s frail state of health. Discovering her father’s well-kept secret allows Artemis to understand her father, in a way she was not able before, therefore love him truly for the first time.
MUSA – Nikos Nikolopoulos
The love story of Simos and Musa. A descent into darkness led by Simos. Musa wants to leave. In his attempt to stop him, Simos opens and closes the door that separates dream from reality. Will he lose Musa? Himself? Or himself in Musa?
ORFEAS2021 – FYTA
The struggles of Orfeas, the first gay prime minister of Greece, against a history of oppression in the “land of heroes.” The first queer opera in Greek is a post-modern sci-fi experimental work, oscillating between baroque melodrama, DIY collage, post-internet and VR/AI aesthetics. The film is dedicated to the memory of activist Zackie Oh!
Pack of Sheep – Dimitris Kanellopoulos
Thanasis can’t pay off his debt to Stelios. When he finds out that Apostolis is in the same position, he asks him to join him for making a better deal with Stelios. While Thanasis tries to put more players in the game, two young gangsters arrive in town to push over the debtors.
Patchwork – Petros Charalambous
Chara’s family is everything to her, and yet she sometimes ponders a life without them. Unable to talk to anybody about her internal turmoil, she carries the burden of guilt and confusion by herself. When she befriends the shy and defiant daughter of her new boss, she is forced to confront her existential angst and face a painful past.
REM Rapid Eye Movement – Karolos Zonaras
Couples of different ages are involved with each other. The younger ones see the deadlocks of the older ones as a gloomy possibility, while the older ones are “renewed” and immersed even more in their own deadlocks. Time does not go back, mistakes are not corrected, and relationships end up cannibalistic.
Saison Morte – Thanassis Totsikas
When a series of brutal murders begins, Christos is the only person who can explain what happened. He starts narrating a story to two police officers, a story in which nobody is who they seem to be and they all switch roles and positions up until the final twist. A story about deception, following a narrative that manipulates till the very end.
She New It All – Takis Papanastasiou
Nora dies under Nikos’s nose – right in the middle of his living room. Nikos meets Faye and then loses her inside a park. Friends, relatives, acquaintances and strangers try to help him – each in their own peculiar way – reconcile with Nora’s corpse, as well as to retrace Faye. But what Nikos really needs is a good night’s sleep.
Sick – The Callas / Lakis & Aris Ionas
Covid–19 quarantine in spring 2020. She’s isolated in her flat in L.A. He’s isolated in his flat in Athens. They’re both killing time on the internet, doing silly things lovers do. Their internment into their flats becomes a psychedelic space spinning round and round and round. A punk romance in the heart of the pandemic lockdown.
The Man with the Answers – Stelios Kammitsis
Victor, a Greek ex-diving champion in his early 20s, lives with his grandmother in a seaside town in Greece. Missing out on his triumph days and tired of working at a furniture factory, his life suddenly changes with his grandmother’s death. Driving an old dusty car, he begins a road trip to Germany. On the boat to Italy, he meets Matthias, an adventurous young German, who is on his way home. Matthias persuades Victor to take him along and, as they drive north, Matthias pushes him to come out of his comfort zone and reveal the real reasons behind his trip. Victor’s uptight character clashes with the more free-spirited Matthias. When their journey comes to an end, through the unpredictable turns of life, will their questions find the answers they so much long for?
The Timekeepers of Eternity – Aristotelis Maragkos
Mr Toomey obsessively tears paper to control his childhood monsters, but when he wakes mid-flight to Boston to find most of the other passengers disappeared, he must confront the paper nightmare which threaten to rip everything apart. Footage from the Langoliers (1995) is edited, printed and animated into a paper nightmare.
.dog – Yianna Americanou
Young Dimitris, on the verge of manhood yet very much a child, has romanticized his absent father to mythic proportions. When his father is finally released from prison, Dimitris’ dream of family happiness is more lucid than ever yet immediately transformed. While fighting for everything he wished for he has to face an unprecedented form of violence.
18 – Vassilis Douvlis
In a working-class neighborhood of Athens of the economic crisis, resurgence of fascism and covid 19, a group of 18-year-old students persecute immigrants, homosexuals, anyone who is just different. A classmate of theirs, who does not hide his dislike for their action, quickly becomes their target.
As part of the “Crossing Borders” section, three Greek co-productions, shot abroad to their greater part, celebrate their premiere at the 62nd TIFF.
A Pure Place – Nikias Chryssos
Siblings Paul and Irina grow up on a remote Greek island, as members of the religious community led by a mysterious guru named Fust. When Fust invites Irina to join him by his side, Paul feels abandoned. He must free his sister before it is too late – for the sect is already preparing its deadly end.
EX – George Markakis
While the dancefloor is mythologized as a space for connection, any committed creature of the night knows the real action takes place in the toilet cubicle – at once the club’s engine room and its “confessional” booth. The film depicts the realities of these sacred spaces with a nauseating intimacy, bundling us in with Diana and a flurry of gorgeous party people for one night of sublime chaos.
Man in the Attic – Constantine Venetopoulos
They say we are two people. We are the person we are with the memories we keep. And we are the person we are with the memories we have forgotten… A psychological arthouse thriller about the journey of a man through his repressed memories in search of inner peace.
A Second Viewing
Three Greek films that have already premiered will be screened within the framework of the 62nd TIFF’s Greek Film Festival:
The Face and the City – Alex Fassois
The Face and the City is an ambient film concerning the play The Pre-last of the Monikins – A monologue without a beginning and without an end of Paris Tacopoulos. It is a film of Beckett’s style atmosphere and Joyce’s style content as a narrative peculiarity imposed by oral speech when encountering the moving image.
The Ramble of the World – Petros Sevastikoglou
Greece, Russia, USA, Brazil, Senegal, China. As we meet young people in these countries, we listen to a “Rumble,” foretelling an impending explosion. This “Rumble” comes from this young generation. Their words, images, sounds, and music compose an audiovisual symphony, titled The Rumble of the World.
The Seashell – Kate Bello
A group of women residents of Cοlonos and Plato Academy in Athens decided along with local writer Thanasis Skroubelos and film director Kate Bello to break the silence.
Universally Accessible Screenings
The goal set by Thessaloniki International Film Festival is to share the magic of cinema with all viewers, without any exception. To this end, TIFF is screening films with Audio Description for the blind and the visually impaired and Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, with curation and certification provided by the Movement of Artists with Disabilities.
The Festival, thanks to the support of Alpha Bank, its accessibility sponsor, will host two universally accessible screenings, where the audience will have the chance to watch Dinos Katsourides’ masterpiece, What Did You Do in the War, Thanassi?, which signaled a radical swift in Thanassis Vengos’ career, as well as unforgettable Doxobus by Fotos Lambrinos, taking us into the heart of the 14th century’s Byzantine society. In addition, as homage to the ten years since the passing away of Dinos Katsourides, the 62nd TIFF will host a screening of the documentary Dinos Katsourides: A Life Like a Movie, directed by Isavella Mavraki, the belated companion of this tireless and humble servant of Greek cinema.
What Did You Do in the War, Thanassi? (1971) by Dinos Katsourides
Employing the inherently subversive form of comedy, as Thanassis Vengos incarnates at once common people wisdom, submission and resistance, Dinos Katsourides focuses his glance at the everyday man of the Nazi Occupation. A person that, straying even from his own will, cannot remain a passive bystander, gradually getting caught up in the whirlpool of collective action. Here, a rather naïve-minded and starving worker in a factory, is imprisoned and tortured, finding himself engaging into unintended resistance. The movie worked as a subtle allegory for the Junta regime, becoming one of the highest grossing films of Greek cinema at the time.
Doxobus (1987) by Fotos Lambrinos
Doxobus is the name of a Byzantine village. The film tells a story that unfolds in medieval Macedonia in the 14th century, when the first civil war broke out in Byzantium. A young man from Doxobus (Xenos) will live through all the winds of war (1321), growing up first in a monastery and then participating in the civil war. The defeat of the emperor and the triumph of the revolutionaries, where Xenos was distinguished for his heroic achievements will bring him as a reward and reward for his bravery in the village itself. Xenos, a new kind of leader, will consolidate his power, changing completely the lives of poor peasants and citizens.
Dinos Katsourides: A Life Like a Movie (2012) by Isavella Mavraki
A harmonious documentary about the life of a unique figure of the Greek Cinema: Dinos Katsouridis was both a great classical film director and had successfully tried himself through all different stages of filmmaking. Audiovisual interviews, archival material, and a journey to his childhood years in Cyprus are seamlessly combined with the memories of people who loved him and worked with him on the way.
“Motherland, I See You: The 20th Century of Greek Cinema”
Astero (1929) – Dimitris Gaziadis
An -until recently- lost film of the silent era that the audience discovered through the 1959 remake with Aliki Vougiouklaki. The original version of the bucolic drama with Astero and Thymios as cursed lovers re-establishes the genre of “fustanella film”, with Nalyssa Green’s creations as a musical background.
Evdokia (1971) – Alexis Damianos
In this ancient Greek tragedy that was never written, a sergeant meets and marries a prostitute, Evdokia. The film by the actor, director and playwright Alexis Damianos is a creation of wild cinematic freedom, deeply political, inextricably linked with the emblematic music of Manos Loizos. A rushing work of passion, love and sacred rage, a film reaction to a rigid world.
Mania (1985) – Giorgos Panousopoulos
On a hot summer day in the National Garden, Zoe forgets her job, her husband and her child and in a paroxysm follows the call of the approaching Full Moon. Panousopoulos returns, after A Foolish Love, with a metaphysical tour-de-force film
that is in dialogue with Euripides’ Bacchae and captures the eternal struggle between the metaphysical and the earthly, the instinctive and the logical.
The Blockade (1965) – Adonis Kyrou
Adonis Kyrou, a friend of the surrealists and activist, was inspired by the historical blockade of Kokkinia and made one of the first substantial attempts to portray the Greek resistance during World War II. Screened at Cannes Critics’ Week, the film, inspired by Brecht, remains to this day a true cinematic heirloom of the “lost spring” of the 1960s.
The Young Runaway (1968) – Stavros Tsiolis
Did you know that the Greek Bugsy Malone was shot almost a decade before the American in the studios of Finos Film and was in fact the directorial debut of Stavros Tsiolis? In a rare sample of Greek children’s cinema, Tsiolis is looking towards Nouvelle Vague, while forging the pure look and the open heart of the cinematography that established him.
Z (1969) – Costa Gavras
The classic political thriller by Costa Gavras about the assassination of the left-wing parliamentarian Grigoris Lambrakis by extreme right civilian militia is a bold, essential portrait of the social impasse of a historical period that resonates to this day. Based on the novel by Vassilis Vasilikos and filled with the compositions of Mikis Theodorakis, the film made it all the way to the Oscars for Best Picture.
The Travelling Players (1975) – Theodoros Angelopoulos
One of the most important and multi-award-winning cinematic creations ever made, Angelopoulos’ film remains emblematic to this day, as it follows a travelling troupe in Greece, from 1939 to 1952. The political history of a country and the personal stories of the members of the troupe are inextricably intertwined in a family saga that meets the core of the Atreides myth.
Ιdées Fixes / Dies Irae (Variations on the Same Theme, 1977) – Antouanetta
One of the most decisive experimental films of Greek cinema, declared the arrival of an
artist who hasn’t stopped provoking the public since then, searching for the limits of
cinematic depiction. The film is an avant-garde exploration of gender, body boundaries
and the medium itself, and continues to inspire poetic creation today.
Greek Short Films
Last but not least, as every year, the Greek short films awarded at the recent 44th Drama International Short Film Festival will be screened at the 62nd TIFF. The awarded short films will be screened as part of a special section at the Film Market, available for sales agents and representatives from international short film festivals.
The 15 short films that will be screened are the following:
Brutalia, Days of Labour by Manolis Mavris
Horsepower by Spyros Skandalos
To Vancouver by Artemis Anastasiadou
Every Sunday by Keti Papadima
A Summer Place by Alexandra Matheou
Motorway 65 by Evi Kalogiropoulou
Soul Food by Nikos Tsemperopoulos
I Don’t Want to Forget Anything by Vaggelio Soumeli
Amygdala by Maria Hatzakou
Last Visit by Spiros Alidakis
Creatures of the Night by Memi Koupa
From the Balcony by Aris Kaplanidis
The Student by Vassilis Kalamakis
Apallou by Nikos Avgoustidis
Souls All Unaccompanied by Giorgos Teltzidis
In addition, as every year, Agora is hosting a series of new actions and initiatives, which aim at boosting the Greek cinema production. In particular and within the framework of the 62nd TIFF, the Festival’s Agora:
- Hosts a casting directors workshop, in collaboration with the Greek Film Centre, addressed to young actors from Greece.
- Launches the new initiative Agora Short Film Lab, in collaboration with Drama International Short Film Festival and Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.
- Presents the action Meet the Future, for the third year in a row, where seven up-and-coming Greek editors will present their showreels before Greek and foreign movie industry professionals and attend talks and workshops. Moreover, they will have the chance to take part in closed-session discussions with Yorgos Mavropsaridis and Yannis Chalkiadakis.
Last but not least, the 62nd TIFF has a surprise movie in store for its audience, coming from the contemporary Greek film industry production!
Sourse: website TIFF