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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 September 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2016 21 GREECE Jewish International Film Festival: The Greek corner Manousakis’ anticipated film Ouzeri Tsitsanis and Trezoros: The Lost Jews of Kastoria documentary to screen in Australia NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU Two Greek films will be presented this year at the 26th Australian Jewish Film Festival (JIFF), premiering in the annual three-week national event due to kick off in November with screenings in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane and Auckland. In collaboration with the Greek Film Festival in Sydney, JIFF will be presenting a screening of Cloudy Sunday by acclaimed director Manousos Manousakis. Lawrence Russo, director of the Treasures documentary, will be in attendance at JIFF 2016, and there will be Q&A events held alongside his screenings in Melbourne and Sydney. CLOUDY SUNDAY (OUZERI TSITSANIS) Greece/2015/Feature/116 mins/Greek with English subtitles Winner of Best Costume Design, Best Supporting Actress and Best Makeup at the 2016 Hellenic Film Academy Awards, this film also re- ceived four stars in Berlin. The story takes place in WWII Thessaloniki, following a forbidden love story between Estrea − a Greek Jewish girl − and Giorgos − a Christian Orthodox Greek man − as depicted in the namesake book by Giorgos Skampardonis. In 1942-43, Greece's second-largest city is under German occupation, suffering the brutality of racial and religious discrimination imposed by the Nazis. At the core of the film, famous Greek songwriter and composer Vasilis Tsitsanis, owner of taverna Ouzeri Tsitsanis, offers refuge to the young couple. Despite steadfast resistance, the hunt for Jews gradually spreads and suddenly simple choices become life-threatening. Manousakis uses real locations in Greece to follow the real events that took place, including the train yards and the actual train box cars which were used to transport tens of thousands of Thessaloniki's Jews to Auschwitz. It is amid this chaos that Tsitsanis wakes up one cloudy Sunday morning to bloodstains on the snow covering his porch, which lead him to the dead body of a young man. On that day he writes one of his greatest international hits, Sinnefiasmeni Kiriaki. "Tsitsanis had only recently gotten married at the time and his wife had given birth to their daughter," Manousos Manousakis explains. "Through this film and through the eyes of this couple who have done nothing other than fall in love, the irrational nature of racism becomes evident. With Cloudy Sunday, we want to remind those who may have forgotten, and teach those who may not know, what fascism and what Nazism are. This is why we made this film." TREASURES: THE LOST JEWS OF KASTORIA, GREECE (TREZOROS) USA, Greece, Israel/2016/Documentary/93 mins/Greek, English, Hebrew with English subtitles Directors Lawrence Russo and Larry Confino have filmed this moving documentary in three parts, detailing the lives of a Sephardic community in Greece by interviewing survivors all over the world. A coastal city renowned for its idyllic beauty, Kastoria was once home to a harmonious and vibrant population of Jews and Christians until Axis forces invaded Greece in 1940. When Mussolini fell from power the Nazis took control of the town, dooming the community that had existed there for more than two millennia. Russo and Confino have carefully stitched together a documentary through the illuminating testimonials of survivors as a tribute, and a reminder, of a formerly vibrant Greek community afflicted by the Holocaust. Featuring interviews with survi- vors scattered across the diaspora, Trezoros is considered to be a discerning historical document and a sharp study of the little known Sephardic Jewish community in Greece. The film also uses never-before-seen archival footage, notably of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, which leads up to the highly-emotional story related by its survivors, most tellingly by the 90-year-old mother of director Lawrence Russo. Still from Sofia Exarchou’s awarded feature film, Park. guage retrospective: Thanasis in the Land of Slaps (1975), Holidays in Vietnam (1971), The Careless Idiot (1971), Dictator Calling Thanasis (1973) and The Charlatan (1973), which takes a comedic but humanistic view of migration. The Delphi Bank 23rd Greek Film Festival runs from 12 to 23 October 2016 at Palace Cinema Como and The Astor, and also travels to Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Brisbane. Tickets are now on sale from www.greekfilmfestival.com.au Chevalier plays exclusively at ACMI Cinemas from Thursday 6 October. Tickets from www. acmi.net.au Andreas Konstantinou as Vasilis Tsitsanis. The Kastoria Jewish memorial. Independent Film Festival Electric Shorts takes off After a great response to the call-out for expressions of interest, 12 short films have been selected to screen at this year's Electric Shorts. The event, taking place during Fringe, will showcase work by emerging and mid-career filmmakers from Australia and overseas, once again making Electric Shorts a truly diverse, cosmopolitan project. The films cover a range of subject matter, style and genre; there will be experimental films, straight-up narrative, music, animation, movement and more, with all the films having been funded fully by the filmmakers. Apart from Australian filmmakers taking part, audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy films by Colombian, Iranian and Russian filmmakers who will be presenting their take on those cultures and the world. Jim Stamatakos, founder and director of Electric Shorts, himself an independent filmmaker, has been impressed once again by the quality of work submitted. "The key influences that informed me when I first developed Electric Shorts in 2002 were all those independent filmmakers and artists who looked beyond obstacles to realise their vision," he says. "It's inspiring to see that this spirit is still around – it's part of all the films we'll be screening." The theme for this year's Fringe is ‘stepping into the light’. According to Vicky Tsaconas, assistant co-coordinator of this year's Electric Shorts, this is what cinema is all about "stepping into the light, and shadows". "The event," she says, "will provide the audience with the opportunity to do just that. "So, step out of your comfort zone, into the light and shadows, where you will be compelled, entertained, provoked, feel perhaps, think certainly." When: 7.30 pm, Wednesday 28 September Where: Loop, Meyer Place, Melbourne, free entry. For further details, head to electricshorts.com.au or call 0417 567 077 Still from film Sprint to The Past.
10 September 2016
24 September 2016