'THE WAYS TO THE WEST' AND REBETIKO MEET THE ISLANDS AND SEA OF THE AEGEAN
In the press conference held on Saturday, March 8th at the Olympion Renault theatre in the framework of the 5th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival - Images of the 21st Century, directors Kyriakos Katzourakis, Lucia Rikaki, and Timon Koulmassis and Iro Siafliaki spoke about their films, The Way to the West, The Aegean in the Words of the Poets and Ways of Rebetiko, respectively. The films are out of competition and part of the official program.
Iro Siafliaki spoke about her film Ways of Rebetiko: “The film presents segments of the history of the Rebetiko (the popular Greek music par excellence), what is left of it and how it inspires people today. I believe that in documentaries, it’s the way you approach things that is important”. Timon Koulmassis added that, “The film resembles a poem with free form. There are different levels in it”. As for the relationship between the contents and the form of a film he said, “It is the content that defines the form”.
Lucia Rikaki had this to say about her film The Aegean in the Words of the Poets: “A marine route connects the 14 islands of the Aegean sea. The Ministry of Culture had arranged a competition and I proposed my screenplay which won. I made this film with the money from that competition. I started my research and included text from 45 authors such as Seferis, Kavafis and Elitis. At certain points their writings were so laudative with Greece that I had to censor some of it”.
Kyriakos Katzourakis spoke about his film The Way to the West saying: “My film is a combination of documentary and fiction. Even fiction, though, is a form of documentation. There is no such thing as immigration without a war being behind it. Of course we have feelings of bitterness in the film. We couldn’t be neutral about it. To be an immigrant nowadays, you must be willing to leave behind your ‘Aegean’. You have to forget your language and become a part of a new culture…”.
At the end of the press conference Lucia Rikaki spoke about classifying art in our days saying that, “It’s a feeling of security and safety that you get when you can categorize things in every sector: politics, society and, of course art”. As far as immigrants are concerned Rikaki said, “I try to find optimistic messages around me. My next documentary will deal with a 33-year-old Greek teacher who works in a school in a village with five Albanian students and one Greek. For me, that’s an example of optimism”.