Thessaloniki-Elefsina: a path of culture

From Thessaloniki to Elefsina. From Elefsina to Thessaloniki. Three renowned artists, works of visual and video art, an iconic Greek documentary and a 3-day activity that transforms cinema into an open and live process are the main pins on the map of a two-way route that connects Thessaloniki International Film Festival and the 25th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival with 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture.

More specifically, we’ll get acquainted with the cinema aspect of the visual artist Adrian Paci, who will showcase his latest work in Elefsina, through the spotlight hosted by the 25th TiDF. Moreover, through a universally accessible screening, we’ll have the unique chance to recapture the magic of the unforgettable documentary Mourning Rock by Filippos Koutsaftis, while casting a sneak peak at the new film of the Greek filmmaker, featuring a return to the city of Elefsina. In addition, the Festival is supporting the latest project/festival by Syllas Tzoumerkas, one of the most talented contemporary Greek film directors, scheduled to take place in Elefsina in April.

The indiscernible bond with one’s fatherland and the trauma of exile, the fluid nature of human identity, the cosmogonic ability of art to craft an alternative reality, as well as the philosophical dimensions incessantly nurtured in the everyday human life, are only a few of the thematics that preoccupy Andrian Paci’s work. The 25th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival hosts a spotlight on Andrian Pacu, providing the audience with the opportunity to watch nine short video films of the Albanian visual artist, who lives and works in Milan.

Paci, within the framework of 2023 Eleusis, will showcase his latest work, in a visual art installation included in the exhibition Elefsina mon Amour, curated by Katerina Gregou, delving into the thematics that run through his video artwork, which will be screened at the 25th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. Using personal experiences as the bedrock of his work, Paci explores the thin threshold line between fake and authentic, the insufficient official definition of art, the boundary between the private and the public sphere, as well as the mythological dimensions of human origins.

In the landmark documentary Mourning Rock (2000), Filippos Koutsaftis depicted the flow of time, the succession between life and death, the sweeping raid of the brave new world of industrialization and economy over the treasures of an invaluable legacy, filming Elefsina as a locus of myths, oracles, mysteries and prophecies. This benchmark documentary makes its return to the dark theater, in a universally accessible screening supported by Alpha Bank, the Festival’s Accessibility Sponsor.

Moreover, the audience will have the chance to cast a first look at the acclaimed Greek director’s new documentary titled The Eleusinians, where he blends in audiovisual archival material shot in the filming of Mourning Rock that did not make it to the final cut and new material. The core of the film is no other than the city of Elefsina yet again, as the camera assumes the task of unraveling the thread from the completion of Mourning Rock up until nowadays. The well-tempered glance of Koutsaftis brings forth the valuable transformation of Elefsina into a constant work-in-progress. The Eleusinians will celebrate its world premiere at the Documentary Festival MYSTERY 23 Ciné Eleusis: IN SITU realities, which will serve as the official closing ceremony of 2023 Eleusis.

MYSTERY 84 Panigíri (the feast of Saint George) is live cinema festival that revolves around this celebration and contemplates both on the notion and the projected image of todays’ Europe working class, as well as on the aesthetics of “live cinema”, produced in real time: marathon film screenings, public speeches under the sound of sirens and live shooting within the core of two live cinema films directed by Margarete Lehrenkrauss and Syllas Tzoumerkas. The Festival’s heart beats in a selected building in the city’s center, transformed into a cinema dedicated to Live Cinema, inviting the audience to take delight in some of the greatest films and works of art that implemented Live Cinema techniques, covering a wide range of genres and eras, in three all-night marathon screenings.

In addition, a public dialogue will take place in Elefinsa - West Attica Labour Unions’ Center, focusing on the topics of working class and cinema. Last but not least, along with the feast of Saint George several niches of celebration and public gathering will be set up, under the guidance and directions of the artists, with the purpose of being incorporated into their live cinema works. The artists will record their scripts live, on the basis of routes/actions planned in advance and integrated in the city’s landscape, in constant interaction with the city’s reality and the people attending the feast.

The partnership between the Festival and 2023 Eleusis will reach its peak through a surprise initiative, which aspires to leave a lasting benefit in the city of Elefsina, exceeding the time frame of this year’s events, gazing at the future. The pertinent announcement will be made within the framework of the 25th TiDF’s Agora.