In the press conference given today, Monday, March 3rd in the framework of the 5th Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century, directors Katerina Patroni and Yiannis Karipidis –both of whom participate in the Greek Competition Section- spoke in detail about their films.
Katerina Patroni’s film “Men at Sea” deals with the life of sailors. The director commented: “A long journey had always been a fantasy of mine. We have all read about life on ships in poetry and literature. At the time I had no idea how I would fulfill this dream but I got lucky after calling a shipping company. I traveled to the Black Sea where I focused and wrote the screenplay”. “I wanted to show how these people spend weeks, months and years in isolation, far from life and their friends. They don’t have the chance to meet new people. I wanted to enter their cabins and see how they manage to survive under these circumstances”.
“The impression the journey left upon me is that these people are different than how I had imagined them. They’re adults but also children who have no need for complex relationships on board. Our everyday problems are far from them. They might seem tough on the outside but I approached them lovingly and tenderly and this changed my view of them forever”.
As for returning to shore Katerina Patroni admitted how much she had longed for it: “Walking on steel for such a long time can drive a person mad, but I had to admit that when we arrived on shore I was ready for another trip. It’s like being a caged bird that won’t leave its cage once you open the door for it”.
Giannis Karipidi’s spoke about his film “Pater Patrum” which deals with the “Anastenarides”, a group of people who walk barefoot on coal: “I initially became interested with these people from an obsession I had with a verse from Euripides’ Vakhes. When many souls come together and unite their energies, anything is possible. Their actions, therefore, are benefited from a higher power.” “The film’s name is not related to age. It’s a given title in a certain religious sect. It must be a grandfather that starts the ritual. I wanted to omit anything that one can read at a library”.
“When they gather in this ritual through a particular procedure that builds up throughout the year, they become able to call upon the aid of the saint and extinguish the fires with their bare feet. Don’t ask me how they do it though.” The director is optimistic about the custom’s future. “There are more new members each year. Spirituality is an increasing need in our days”. On account of Wednesday's conference about Palestine, both directors agreed sadly that people are dying in the name of personal interests.