INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR
Earlier this season, director Dimitris Athanitis made an auspicious debut with Addio Berlin, a delightfully off-kilter independently produced model of economy (shot in 13 days for about 20,000 dollars!) which deservedly picked up an award at the Thessaloniki Film Festival. Dave Bowman writes. And now the time has come for a bit of O&A with this most promising and (one would hope) inspirational individual, a fan of Bertolucci, Fellini, Ken Russell and….Terence Fisher (Glory be! The man likes Hammer films).
Fisher made some very good films, very different to the rest of the work of Hammer – Dracula: Prince of Darnkess. The Curse of Frankestein. Very visual… and, ultimately, I would say that these films are not horror films, they’re erotic films. Now you’re seeing these stories again – Coppola’s Dracula, etc- but I don’t think they are very good films. Although there’s a lot of money on show. I don’t think there is depth. Fisher’s films were more allegorical – I would like to make this sort of film. I’d like to make a film about Dracula, but you can’ t do it here. It would be a parody. You can’t do everything everywhere. I mean you can’t do a film noir in Africa-the environment is very important.
Well bang go my plans for Hellenising one of my favorite genres, although his views regarding science-fiction are far more optimistic. But which are the scenarios that fit the Greek scene?
There never seems to be even one film about the Athens of today – even Telos Epochis – it’s not about today – the Nineties. Or they’re set in the villages, or the mountains… nothing about contemporary Athens. We could make films set on the beaches- romances, comedies.. so many things, and we are not making them. We could make these films, and only we. But we continue to make these films in the villages. If our films are to succeed abroad, they have to be fresh, something new… they can’t be something that everyone’s familiar with. Neither can they be imitations –there’s no point”.
In my review of Addio Berlin, I drew particular attention to the warped visual style (the aspect responsible for the film winning an award), in that it really does not look like a Greek film at all. I also said and I quote: “Given more resources, I’m sure that Athanitis could drag Greek cinema into the modern age once and for all.
Dave Bauman, Athens News 1995