62nd THESSALONIKI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ||
Accessible screening of Doxobus by Fotos Lambrinos
The film Doxobus, first screened in 1987, came back on Friday, November 5th on the screens of the 62nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival, in the first of two global accessibility screenings held by the 62nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival, in collaboration with Alpha Bank, the Festival's accessibility sponsor. The film was prefaced by Orestis Andreadakis, the artistic director of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, who identified himself before the audience.
"I am Orestis Andreadakis, the artistic director of the Festival. I'm about 1,80 tall, I'm wearing an olive oil suit and a colourful t-shirt. I wear glasses and my hair is kind of messy. This is not a joke. I identify myself, because there are also blind people in the theatre. As to today's screening is going to be globally accessible. There will be an audio description for the blind and visually impaired and subtitles for the deaf and the hearing impaired."
Afterwards, the artistic director of the festival, referred to the film Doxobus, pointing out that it is one of the most fascinating and breathtaking stories in Greek cinema. He said: "but it was also a film that was treated unfairly. In my humble opinion, it is the most misunderstood film in the history of Greek cinema. This year we owe a payback to this injustice and organise a special screening in order to re-evaluate this excellent film".
Fotos Lambrinos, director of the film, honoured with his presence the screening of the film. Initially, he referred to his influences: "This film was a 3-4 years process. Along the way, there was a film that influenced me greatly to dare what you will see – and trust it was daring film to shoot – Andrei Rublev, by Andrei Tarkovsky. When I was shooting Doxobus, I was constantly thinking of Andrei Rublev. I studied in Moscow, with Mikhail Rom as a teacher. I have to say that great generation of Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian directors of the 60s, among whom Tarkovsky, graduated from Mikhail Rom’s workshops”.
He went on to share his experience from the distribution of the film Greece and abroad: "The film was warmly welcomed abroad; in London they called it "a real discovery". In Paris it was screened twice and my dear friend, Costa Gavras, could not find a seat and watched it standing. He called me on the phone after the screening to ask me how I managed to create such a film in Greece. In Athens we had booked Alkyonida, but the cinema owner breached the contract and screened the film only for two weeks, while he had sold about 12,500 tickets, a record for the film theatre. Finally the film fell flat for various reasons and because of the general situation in Greek cinema at the time. Once screened, everyone was impressed. I was very moved with all these good reviews."
Afterwards, Mr. Lambrinos talked about the initial idea that inspired him and his overall relationship with the documentary genre. "The idea for the film was born in Prespes, where I made a documentary series about ERT. The initial trigger was a coloured half hour documentary that I did about the legends of Prespes. The documentary genre is also cinema. The film was based on very specific elements that we made sure to be historically accurate. We wanted it to be related to history and reality and not to be arbitrary. We relied to a great extent on Angeliki Laiou-Thomadaki's amazing book, The Rural Life in Late Byzantium".
The evening continued with surprises, as when asked by the audience about the soundtrack of the film, the director invited on stage Kostas Vomvolos, who edited the music of the film. "I was searching for the feel of a reed wind instrument in general. There is also hagiographers’ music with Western instruments, but they do not have the Western sound. The triton is commonly used, though it is considered to be the devil’s music", explained Mr. Vomvolos.
Fotos Lambrinos also revealed the great importance of the heretical hagiographers in his story, in response to a question posed by the audience. "It is a key element in that period, a true and widespread story. We made a synthesis of the sects in the group we presented the documentary. The beginning of the collapse was inevitable within this context. It was impossible not to have the presence of a "heretic". This is also an element of documentary that should definitely be in the film," he said.
The evening ended up with a story narrated by Fotos Lambrinos, directly related to the issue of accessibility. "Many years ago, Theo Angelopoulos recounted to me the following incident. He had been invited in a festival, held in a provincial town in France. He was taken aback when he saw there that the director of the festival was blind. The director sat in the front row and next to him his wife, who whispered to him the dialogues, the image and the action. Once the screening was over, the director took the floor by saying "the film we just saw...". It is a story that brings out tears", concluded Fotos Lambrinos.