Dimitris Athanitis is a truly independent filmmaker, producing all his films through his production company DNA Films. He has earned awards since his directorial debut, winning the Jury Prize at the 1994 Thessaloniki Film Festival with Adios Berlin; his second film Sympathy for the Devil was nominated for the Golden Alexander. In 2001, Australian movie critic Bill Mousoulis ranked Athanitis’s 2000+1 Shots among the year’s best ten films.
Where do you consider home?
There is no place I consider home.
What would cause you to stay away from home for 10 years?
My need to make films.
How do you define fidelity?
Fidelity seems to be blind. And that is something I could not bear.
Which idea are you most faithful to?
If I am faithful to an idea, that idea is trying to be myself.
Which modern figure, male or female, would you identify with Penelope?
Every Hollywood star is a modern Penelope even if she does not know this.
If you were casting The Odyssey today, which real-life or literary figure would you choose for the role of Antinous?
For the role of Antinous I could choose a politician. Many of them could fit perfectly.
Is beauty like Calypso’s trap?
Beauty can be a trap, if you have not tasted it yet.
What’s a modern-day equivalent of Circe’s mesmerizing powers?
All this easy publicity you can get today is the modern equivalent of Circe.
‘Arete’ is Greek for virtue. Which do you value most? Which is overrated?
Being clever is an overrated virtue. Being creative is what I value most.
Odysseus is both cunning and strong. Which trait would you choose?
I choose them both. Homer knew that these two traits work only bound as one.
What’s your biggest temptation?
To be someone else.
What disguise would you adopt if you wished to pass unnoticed?
I would take off my hat.
If eating a Lotus could make you forget just one thing, what would you want to forget?
I would like to forget–at least sometimes–myself.
In The Odyssey, greed prompts Odysseus’ men to unleash the strong winds that blow their ship off course. If Homer were writing today, what would these winds be a metaphor for?
Greed for money, greed for power.
Who are the Laestrygonians today?
Every group facing strangers behaves like Laestrygonians.
What song do you think the Sirens were singing?
“Why go” by Boy George.
Which would you try to avoid, Scylla or Charybdis?
Listening to Circe’s advice, I would try to avoid Charybdis. At least facing Scylla, you have some chances.
What’s The Odyssey’slesson for today?
Believe in your personal journey. Discover your personal destination.
What is your Ithaka?
For me Ithaka could be Filmland. But there is no Ithaka.
Which do you think is most important, the journey or the destination?
Only the journey counts. When you arrive at your destination, you no longer think of it as a destination.
ODYSSEY magasine, Jan-Feb 2011