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Category Archives: Greek film

Let’s see: Alex is working on a movie about a communist mom and her relationship to her son, but both characters are performed by one and the same female actress, so if you take away the gender-confusion of a female performing a female and a male role, Alex’s movie might as well be a movie about mother-daughter relationships and how these are affected by Greek communism. The name of the mom in his movie is Νίκη/Nike which is the Greek word for “victory”, so the mother’s name is basically “Victoria”. Lo behold, today I discovered this Bulgarian 2014 indie film by female filmmaker Maya Vitkova called, oh yes, Виктория or”Viktoria” which she claims is a semi-autobiographical tale about  mother-daughter relationships set in the 1970s and early 1990s in Bulgaria under communist rule and after the fall of Soviet communism, which is the exact same time period that Alex’s upcoming film is set. COINCIDENCE?

Here is Maya Vitkova explaining her movie Виктория/Viktoria:

And here is what she said on IMDB (which makes her the only if not one of the few filmmakers ever to address their film viewers on IMDB in the comments):

Author: mayvitkovitz from Bulgaria
2 June 2015

The key situations in Viktoria are stories that happened in my own life, but the willingness to tell them is not an obsession for psychoanalysis or a self cure. The motive to write Viktoria links to the story Kurosawa tells at the very beginning of his autobiographical book. A healing frog in a box with mirror walls, frightened by its own reflection, starts secreting an oily secretion similar to sweat. They used to boil this sweat on a faint fire for days and that’s how produced a miraculous cure. According to Kurosawa, to write about yourself, is similar to being locked between four walls covered with mirrors and stare at yourself. And although you’re not a frog, you feel sweat streaming down your body… Storytelling is a mission, one of the few ways to change human lives. To write stories and turn them into films, which truly regenerate the humanity, the human spirit, you odd [ought?] to be honest. To lock yourself into the mirror box and examine you from top to toe, to tell a story of a moment in your life which somehow changed you, a story, that can thus help turning the lives of those who see it better. I do hope that the cure – the film – I prepared out of my „sweat”, will be healing for the people who use it for their „wounds”. That’s the reason I wrote Viktoria.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3400872/reviews?ref_=tt_urv

Wow, that sounds like a student of Jodorowsky’s brand of Psychomagic Psychobabble right there (doesn’t Alejandro always say he wants to make movies that heal?), but anyway, onwards to the movie itself class! Study this film-trailer for Виктория/Viktoria closely and diligently:

Synopsis
Dreaming of the West, Boryana is determined not to have a child in communist Bulgaria. Nonetheless, her daughter Viktoria enters the world in 1979, curiously missing a belly button, and is declared the country’s Baby of the Decade. Pampered by her mother state until the age of nine, Viktoria’s decade of notoriety comes crashing down with the rest of European communism. But can political collapse and the hardship of new times finally bring Viktoria and her reluctant mother closer together?

The film follows three generations of women in the final years of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria and the early years of the new government, focusing on reluctant mother Boryana and her daughter, Viktoria, who in one of the film’s surreal, magical touches is born without an umbilical cord. Though unwanted by her mother, Viktoria is named the country’s Baby of the Decade, and is showered with gifts and attention until the disintegration of the East Bloc. Despite throwing their worlds off balance, the resulting political changes also allow for the possibility of reconciliation.

You will see that there are several scenes here which in another context would have been pedophilic, such as an image of a baby’s bare bottom and another quick shot where a girl’s pair of underwear is cut off with scissors. I obviously haven’t seen the movie itself but everything about this trailer suggests that Maya Vitkova’s Виктория/Viktoria is a movie that touches on the subject of sexual child abuse under communism.

This surreal excerpt from the movie of a young girl dressed up like a mix between Kenny from the animation  Southpark and Little Red Riding Hood being pushed over by a gigantic hand, again suggests that Виктория/Viktoria is a movie about child abuse:

Then there is this excerpt of what appears to be a catholic priest or lawyer’s gown in a tub of water spreading a cloud of blood:

Another scene which suggests child abuse:

And this scene of a piano recital reminds me of those stories that Alex used to tell in interviews, where he said he was being paraded around like a trophy by the Greek communists after he and his sister joined the Greek Communist Youth organization at the ripe old age of 12, and Alex saying that he considers this experience of being paraded around by the communists in his youth “akin to child pornography”:


The communist context of the movie is made explicit in the following somewhat parodic  excerpt:

So, let’s take this from the top again:

1) Alex is making a movie where the mom character is called Νίκη/Nike or Victoria. Two years ago Vitkova already released a an indie movie called Виктория/Viktoria, which is the name of the daughter in her movie.

2) Alex’s mom character Νίκη is a communist, Виктория/Viktoria takes place during communist rule in Bulgaria with the mother and daughter being celebrated by the communist regime.

3) The time period of the events in Alex’s film is the 1970s and 1990s, Виктория/Viktoria likewise takes place in the 1970s and the early 1990s.

4) Виктория/Viktoria is about mother-daughter relationships, Alex’s movie is about mother-son relationships but the two main characters, the mother and the son, are both interpreted by a single female actress.

5) Alex is a pedophilia apologist; Виктория/Viktoria‘s trailer suggests that this movie touches on the subject of sexual child abuse under communism, with many scenes suggesting or depicting child abuse.

6) Alex said in interviews that being paraded around by the communists after joining the Greek Communist Youth organization as preteen was a very traumatic experience for him which felt “akin to child pornography”; Vitkova’s girlchild character Viktoria is paraded around by the communists in Bulgaria as the “Baby of the Decade”, in a movie that Vitkova claims is semi-autobiographical. Alex’s mom is a communist who still in public interviews will refer to other leftists in Greece as “comrades” and is a former card-carrying member of the Greek Communist Party. Vitkova claims that Виктория/Viktoria is about trying to restore her relationship to her mother after the fall of communism.

I’m sure Alex would say that he has never seen Виктория/Viktoria and that these similarities are all a big coincidence, but I have come across so many male artists ripping off lesser known female artists that I am extremely supicious. Obviously there are other films that depict mother-child relationships under communism or the post-communism transition period (the German film Goodbye Lenin would be a well-known example amongst my contemporaries), but the above similarities should raise an eyebrow.

The 2015 Greek documentary Refugee Highway by Chronis Pechlivanidis, a must-see documentary about the refugee crisis that will never be shown in Western countries because it completely humanizes the refugees, has now been made freely available on Vimeo for HQ viewing with Greek subtitles (74 minutes) and with English subs:

 

THE REFUGEE HIGHWAY is a feature-length docudrama in the form of a fiction about an Afghan family which flees their homeland illegally due to severe Taliban attacks to Greece.

They spend several years in exile in Iran before relocating to Greece in 2009, what they thought would be a final safe haven in which to raise their children. Instead, the nightmare they ran away from in Afghanistan catches up with them in Europe, in the centre of Athens. A bomb hidden in a briefcase mistaken for garbage by the 15-year old son and 10-year old daughter explodes, killing the boy and blinding the girl, while their mother bears witness to the attack.

Fear of Muslim immigrants as a security risk has intensified due to the increasing influx of refugees globally and constant coverage of international terrorism by the media. THE REFUGEE HIGHWAY gives a human face to these statistics. This moving film will challenge the audience to re-evaluate their understanding of the international refugee problem. It will reveal the harsh reality of human smuggling in the quest for safety and security.

– See more at: http://www.onos.gr/other-productions/the-refugee-highway/

Read more:

Δες το ντοκιμαντέρ του Χρόνη Πεχλιβανίδη, «Refugee Highway»
Ένα οδοιπορικό στις βαθιές πτυχές του προσφυγικού και μία αληθινή ιστορία

 

 

The Feminist blacklist of Greek rape movies by male filmmakers (and a few female ones) is an ongoing feminist film criticism project by drs. Efthimia Dilpizoglou. The creation of this list was prompted by the following interview with lesbian American actress Jodie Foster, wherein she condemns the use of rape as a plot device in American films:

 

She added, “It was ridiculous, it was every single movie I saw. If you really got to what was the overriding motivation that that woman that you found out at the end, it was always rape because for some reason men saw that as this incredibly dramatic thing. ‘Well that’s easy! I can just pluck that one out of the sky and apply it to her.’ ”

Foster said she believes the storyline persists because men have failed to create a “complex merging” with female characters. “They were unable to put themselves in her shoes and her body and say, ‘She was competitive with her mother’… They were unable to make that transition.”

Jodie Foster Slams Male Filmmakers for Relying on Rape as a Motivational Device for Female Characters
http://www.people.com/article/jodie-foster-slams-male-filmmakers-rape-motivation-female-characters

These comments by Jodie Foster in fact very accurately describes almost every indie Greek movie being praised by the Flix.gr online hegemony and the Voulgaris oikogeniocracy. I thus decided to assemble a list of male-made Greek movies that use rape as a lazy-assed plot device: Το μικρό ψάρι by Yannis Economidis, Μέχρι το πλοίο by Αλέξης Δαμιανός, Lost Girl by Nikos Pastras, Αν ήταν νόμιμος ο βιασμός (literally “If rape was legal” <– CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS FUCKING TITLE?!) by Alexandros Sipsidis, the list of Greek rape movies by men just goes on and on. Μέχρι το πλοίο (1966) by Αλέξης Δαμιανός this movie that many young Greek filmmakers have been brainwashed to think of as a sensitive Greek treatjerker and one of the greatest pieces in the Greek film canon, is actually a rather badly made rape movie. The scene where the woman is in the barn and the two men are pulling at her arms is a rape scene. The only reason you don’t see any body-parts is because they couldn’t show that back then. Anyone who does a close reading of that scene should be able to see it for what it is: simulated rape.

Just to be fair and to also to preempt any silly MRA kind of criticism, I will also assemble below the male filmmaker blacklist a list of Greek movies with rape scenes by female Greek filmmakers, so you can see for yourselves how completely different the rape scenes are when they are directed by women. Most recently we saw rape uncritically and sensationally being used as a plot device in the 2015 film Ursa Minor by Elissavet Chronopoulou, which surely a cinematic example of Stockholm Syndrome and how female Greek filmmakers adopt a male gaze because they don’t know better and haven’t got a clue about feminist film criticism. I know this for a fact because not a single female Greek filmmaker I have ever met has ever read any form of feminist film criticism.

In addition to the second list of females directing rape scenes, I also tried to to think of a single Greek movie where a man gets raped by men (like, say, the rape-scene in American History X where Edward Norton “picks up the soap” in prison) and I basically can’t think of one. I can honestly say I have never seen an adult Greek man get raped by another man in a Greek movie. The victims I see in Greek rape movies are always women. There a castration scene in the Hellenic Genocide drama feature 1922 by Nikos Koundouros where a Turkish lynch mob captres and cuts the balls off a Greek (all this in a Greek movie long before Hostel ever came out people!), but that movie by Koundouros doesn’t really count because it isn’t rape — in that movie too it’s Greek women who are getting raped by Turks. Singapore Sling, the Greek exploitation rape movie by Nikos Nikolaidis doesn’t count either because that’s supposedly a man who is being raped by women, who curiously never looks like he isn’t enjoying himself. I think it’s fair to say that despite its reputation of churning out edgy films, it’s abudantly clear from my list that homosexual rape amongst adult men is the ultimate cinematic taboo in a macho patriarchy such as the Greek culture. It reminds me of a quote I once read in an essay in the late Eve Sedgwick’s Tendencies book, where either she or the person she was interviewing said something to the effect that the image of a man on his back with his knees in the air and his rectum exposed is the ultimate cinematic taboo in American film and that showing this image to American audience would be akin to the Apocalypse, this being an image that, if shown to a mainstream audience, would signal the end as far as American culture is concerned. (But I have actually seen La Pudeur des Icebergs by Daniel Léveillé Danse performed live onstage in Amsterdam 10 years ago, so I beg to differ.) So, if you really want to be an edgy Greek filmmaker, stop making Greek rape movies and basically go and make a Greek “Πάρτι των Λεμονιών”. Perferably yet, stop making rape movies altogether. Having a movie literally titled Αν ήταν νόμιμος ο βιασμός, “If rape was legal”, is not very funny, mr Alexandros Sipsidis. I want this list to show how gross, disgusting and overtly sexist Greek cinema has become just as its becoming more well-known around the world than ever.

THE FEMINIST BLACKLIST OF GREEK RAPE MOVIES BY MALE GREEK FILMMAKERS:

Το μικρό ψάρι by Yannis Economidis

Lost Girl by Nikos Pastras

Αν ήταν νόμιμος ο βιασμός by Alexandros Sipsidis

1922 by Nikos Koundouros

Μέχρι το πλοίο, 1966, Αλέξης Δαμιανός
(rape scene in the barn at 17:50)

ΜΙΚΡΕΣ ΑΦΡΟΔΙΤΕΣ / Young Aphrodites (1963) Nikos Koundouros
(simulated rape scene of a 14 year old girl)

ΤΟ ΚΟΡΙΤΣΙ ΤΗΣ ΜΑΝΗΣ Πολ Ανέτ 1985
(rape scene at the end)

Singapore Sling: The Man Who Loved a Corpse 1990 Nikos Nikolaidis
(incest between adults, male rape, too many scenes to count)

Miss Violence, 2013, Alexandros Avranas
(Movie about incest, rape scene happens off screen but it’s still rape)

THE FEMINIST BLACKLIST OF GREEK RAPE MOVIES BY FEMALE GREEK FILMMAKERS:

Lullaby by Yianna Amerikanou, 2009

Ursa Minor by Elissavet Chronopoulou, 2015 <– This movie in particular is the perfect example of the way female Greek filmmakers have internalized the male gaze and the rape scene as a plot device because they’ve witnressed it times immemorial in Greek movies and have hence thus ended up reproducing sexist Greek stereotypes of women being masochistic victims who supposedly “crave” abuse and humiliation. As one critic of the movie commented: “Ποια κοπέλα θα έβλεπε έναν άνδρα να την ακολουθάει και να της λέει: «Δε θα σε αφήσω να φύγεις.» και εκείνη χωρίς κανέναν δισταγμό θα έμενε και σε λίγες ώρες αργότερα θα προθυμοποιούνταν να κάνει έρωτα μαζί του, χωρίς τη θέληση της, προκειμένου να τον πείσει να μείνει σπίτι της το βράδυ (δεδομένου μάλιστα ότι αρνείται την ερωτική επαφή στη συνέχεια μέσα σε μια σχέση πέντε μηνών με αυτόν τον άνδρα); Η δημιουργός αναφέρει ότι «Η ιστορία μιλάει για ένα κακοποιημένο κορίτσι, που ακριβώς επειδή έχει κακοποιηθεί, έλκει την κακοποίηση.» Δε φαίνεται πουθενά ο λόγος για τον οποίο αποδέχεται την κακοποίηση.”. Greek female filmmakers are thus neither encouraged or interested in subverting the expectation of rape and misogynist abuse in Greek movies. Female Greek filmmakers are merely ignorant reproducers of the rape convention. So completely have Greek female filmmakers internalized the rapist gaze of male Greek filmmakers that they can’t even conceive making a film from the perspective of the female and instead explicitly adopt a male gaze, since this gaze is all they know: “βρισκόμαστε στην οπτική γωνία του ήρωα και επομένως ξέρουμε μόνο όσα ξέρει κι εκείνος”. In Greece, even the women identify with the rapist at the expense of the female rape victim. The misogyny of Greek films is therefore a truly totalitarian and tautological manifestation of the rapist male gaze. Even the critic makes up excuses for the rapist, describing him using the inevitable perenial favourites amongst Greek rape apologist, “child-like” and “sensitive”: προβάλλεται ως ένας ευαίσθητος χαρακτήρας με μία εμφανή παιδικότητα, κατανόηση και μεγάλη θέληση για να βοηθήσει, να διορθώσει την ηρωίδα (ατάκα ήρωα: «Ήλπιζα να γίνεις κανονική.»). Yes, Greek film critics really do believe that rape and abuse are the result of “too much feeling” and even a “child-like innocence” on the part of the rapist,  rather than the result of a truly psychopathic lack of any feelings of empathy in a man. Let there be no mistake about it, no man ever imagines himself a child when he is raping a woman. This suggestion that rapists are brutalizing women because they are innocent children who cannot help themselves is one of the most dangerous mindfucks Greek women have suffered at the hands of a sexist patriarchal culture.

LIST OF GREEK MOVIES WHERE AN ADULT MAN GETS RAPED BY ANOTHER MAN:

Zero!

One of the many pink unicorns of the Filmmakers in the Fog protest movement was the creation of a National Greek Filmschool. As the documentaries below explain Greece already has several private filmschools as well as an academic film department, so there really is no need for yet another educational institution. The first documentary listed below shows that the amount of Greek films being released per year exploded due to the widespread use of digital means of filmmaking. Nothing indicates that the creation of a national filmschool would do anything to channel this explosion in digital filmmaking. The demand for the creation of such a school was rather a veiled attempt from the Athenian filmmakers to move filmstudents away from the city of Thessaloniki (where the state-run academic film department is located) to Athens, as well as to artificially create government-funded employment for FOG filmmakers to ensure a steady source of income for them through teaching when they are not making films. Rather than admit this, the demand for a National Film School remains to this day. The fact is that what filmmakers really need to survive financially is more commercial screening opportunities. Not more schools functioning as useless degree-factories. In a country where every household budget is in decline and the spending power of the individual consumer in search of divertisement has all but disappeared, it is unlikely that existing filmmakers will ever see the prudency of their films gaining more access to theatres rather than their unemployed asses gaining more access to government-funded school institutions at the expense of yet another generation of students deceitfully promised film careers but in the end left unemployed themselves with a worthless filmmaking degree.
A 2004 documentary about the state of Greek filmmaking, specifically of the Greek short film, four years before the crsis and five years before Filmmakers in the Fog (Greek, no subs). Note the demands for the creation a national Greek filmschool:

A 2013 documentary about the state of Greek filmmaking after Filmmakers in the Fog had pretty much collapsed as a movement (Greek, English subs). Note here the admission that nothing was done to create a national Greek filmschool despite the intent to do so:

And if you think this misery is exclusive to Greece, tune in later this year for the premiere of the following British documentary:

Why am I listing a documentary about British cinema in an article about the sorry state of Greek film and the misdirected demands for a new filmschool? Because everything that is detailed in this British documentary about the decline of the British film industry is twice the case in Greece. There was a British national cinema #FAIL before there was a Greek national cinema #FAIL and many Greek filmmakers are unaware of this fact. At least the British have the decency to admit that 1) they put the wrong people in the wrong positions (those appointed themselves openly admit as much) and 2) the destruction of the British film industry was the result of deliberate politics. Therefore, this British documentary while seemingly remote and irrelevant, must be seen back to back with the previous two Greek documentaries.

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Why did Yorgos Lanthimos really bug out of Greece?  The following list of Youtube videos from 2009 documenting the emergence of Filmmakers in the Fog offers a hint as to why he and many other Greek filmmakers want to get out of the country and make films abroad with foreign backing. This collection of videos shows the combative, hostile, and frankly toxic atmosphere within the field of Greek film that every Greek filmmaker seeks to escape from –>

21SEPT2009 – Public declaration of the letter of protest and the first public confrontation. Filmmakers claiming to be members of the Greek Directors Guild under the directorship of Charis Papadopoulos publically withdraw their membership. Papadopoulos goes berzerk. Note all the Voulgarises namedropped at 4:00 (πρωτοι και καλήτεροι)! The person reading the list of names is Constantina Voulgari, Alex’s sister. All in all 64 Greek film-makers had signed the protest-letter, another 140 would join the Fog protest at a later point:

This video plainly shows that the Filmmakers in the Fog basically started out as a Voulgaris-associated group of filmmakers who targeted one person and their institution. The protest wasn’t aimed at the Greek State (then a center-left government) but at an individual and an institution that the Voulgarises considered to be useless to themselves and their associates. Charis Papadopoulos angrily shouts that the Filmmakers in the Fog group was set up by the Greek Film Center, the backers of the Voulgarises, and accuses the Film Center of wasting 17,5 million euros within one single year. Papadopoulos then alleges that the purpose of the Greek Film Center is “to back one family, the Voulgarises” whereas the purpose of his Greek Directors Guild is represent the collective interests of all Greek film directors, whether they are associated with the Voulgaris oikogeniocracy or not. Revealed in all its glory is thus the ideological control excerted by the Voulgarises on the Greek film milieu as a whole, and how divisive their presence in the field of Greek film really is: in Greek film you are either for or against the Voulgarises, and if they perceive your organization or person as worthless to themselves they make no qualms about making it publically known by staging a protest that is subsequently, through an act of sheer historical revisionism, made to appear as a protest against the State rather than a personal feud. Being on the side of the Voulgarises means joining whichever action they intiate against whichever person or organization.

Another video of the same confrontation between Charis Papadopoulos and Filmmakers in the Fog. The shot at 6:40 of Perakis (of Λούφα και Παραλλαγή Trilogy fame) shooting the confrontation and smiling is PRICELESS! XD XD XD

Here is a later video of Foggers, now larger in number, all crammed up in their conference space, with Constantina visible in the line of people standing along the wall, also Sofia Exarchou, with a shot of a completely inconspicuous Yiorgos Lanthimos at 4:24 –>

29OCT2009

05NOV2009

Another Perakis shot at 0:58

17JUN2010

If you are still wondering why Yorgos Lanthimos left Greece with the intent never to come back again, this is why. Lanthimos leaving Greece has absolutely nothing to do with the negative reviews he received for his films because Lanthimos never intended to make films for Greeks, so he obviously doesn’t care whether Greeks like or understand his films. Lanthimos left Greece because, well, who the hell wants to make films in a country where every filmmaker is forced to pick sides and become a footsoldier in some powerful families’ personal vendettas which are conveniently reconfigured to appear as a protest against the supposed common enemy of Greek filmmakers, the State? Maybe it was having to witness this power-struggle that attracted Lanthimos to the royal intrigue of the Queen Anne autobiography?