FLIX - THE CITY
The City is one of two or three things that I am interesting in cinema. For me it is as important as the faces and the bodies. The city has a soul. The city is a human's geography. She carries on her body, the prints of decades, hundreds of years. It is just as mysterious as the faces, the same contradictory and complex. And finally she has an interiority. It is not just what appears at first glance. But you have to approach it in order to feel it, to wander, to live it personally.
I have been born in the downtown, I have grown up and I have lived in many different areas of the city's center. Although I have made endless wanderings, I still discover unknown hidden corners.
This unfamiliar city I try to retrieve and show through my films. From the black and white in my first films, Addio Berlin and No Sympathy for the Devil, to the hard blue in Three Days of Happiness, I look for unexpected, hidden images.
The spaces in my films are cinematographed as faces. I try to catch their underlying breath, the underground signs of life. I feel the need to record places almost dead, ready to disappear. My films are full of spaces that no longer exist, spaces that have been transformed, spaces that can not be decrypted.
My last three films cover three key time points of the decade in the history of the country and in the history of the city. The millennium, the Olympics, the crisis. Although in all the three films, the faces are in the foreground, at the same time the city is outlined, and through that, a society is portraied. From this point of view, my films are political, not in the current but in a more meaningful sense.
The decline of the city is something that charmed me out from my first films. I felt from the beginning that in this daecy, there was something more substantial than the surface. There was a truth, like the inverted image of a false world. No Sympathy for the Devil (1997) gloomily describes a future underground Athens and fifteen years later, it looks of today. So is my first short film Philosophy (1993) that prorhets the collapse of the Greek economy.
I once believed that there were cities with a cinematic atmosphere and cities without. Through the film making and traveling, I realized that the it is gaze that makes the "cinematic" cities. The cinema that captivates me is the cinema that builds its own space. Through my films I am intrigued to get lost in the city and at the same time to reinvent it.
Dimitris Athanitis 2/4/2012