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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 13 April 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 13 APRIL 2019 15 FILM Yves Montand, “The Confession” (1970) And Kurosawa had both. Do you follow developments in Greek cinema? Yes, I do. At times the state helps cinema, at others it doesn't. Greek filmmakers feel abandoned. It is not enough to have a National Film Centre; constant help and resolve to support Greek Cinema is necessary, because a Greek film can travel the world and say so many things about Greece. It is imperative to have national cinema with solid and continuous state support and the right legal framework: Greek film makers should be facilitated to shoot in Greek archaeological sites; the Greek Film Centre should enable even "difficult" productions, which are more demanding for the audience. Time and again audiences exceed our expectations and the state must generate those conditions of freedom and support that encourage scriptwriters and directors to create. Many years ago, a Minister of Tourism asked me what changes are necessary to attract foreign productions. I offered him my thoughts, but nothing happened.Currently there are radical changes taking place regarding the new financial and tax incentives which I find very positive. It's important to attract foreign producers, because Greece interests them. I know that from discussions with them. They tell me that things are difficult in Greece. These changes are beginning to make things easier for filmmakers and producers. There has to be an ongoing Eden is West, a 2009 film about an immigrant, called Elias, trying to get to Paris. relationship between the state and the filmmakers. If these changes continue, they will bring vast improvements both for economy in general and for filmmakers themselves. I have to stress that Greece also has excellent crews and technicians. Working on my new film here in Greece, I work with Greek crews and I am really amazed by the quality of their work. First of all, I'm working with internationally acclaimed Director of Photography, Yiorgos Arvanitis, who has a highly competent crew. The sound unit is also excellent and the same goes for the settings. All of the Greek crews I'm working with speak English; they are always prepared and highly skilled. So, it's not true that there are no skilled film crews and technicians in Greece. There are small countries with strong national cinemas, such as Sweden or Israel. If smaller countries can do it, why can't we? In retrospect, do you think that the Golden Era of European Cinema is over? Are you optimistic about contemporary film production? Film production today is undergoing revolutionary changes, of which we have only seen a fraction, the digital part. The way we think about films, the way we make films and the way films are viewed are changing. The way films are produced is changing. This cuts both ways; the big companies finance films but they impose great limitations to their distribution, in the sense that films can only be available on TV networks. If this continues, the big companies will get more and more power which will escalate to choosing which films are actually produced and which not. We need to fiercely resist this in Europe. Not the system, because the system exists and, from a certain point of view, it has a positive side, in the sense that it offers people living in areas without access to cinemas the ability to watch films in the comfort of their homes. What is negative is that this system can take control of world cinema production, threatening personal and national cinema. But the system does not care about that; it is only interested in the box office. They think they have the recipe for commercially successful films, and this will have bad repercussions on film making. The notion of National as well as European Cinema must be strongly supported. We frequently appeal to J.-C. Juncker about the actions and steps that need to taken in this direction. Cinema is part of the grand path towards peaceful cooperation that the EU is about. By saying we need to have European cinema I am thinking in terms of financing and a legal framework, because cinema is firstly personal, national and can later become European. Europe must adopt a very positive stance to cinema and we are working a lot in this direction in France. Would you like to tell us a few things about your work at the Cinémathèque Française? In the context of film preservation in France, there was an effort to preserve and save silent films (which were never really silent, but this is another issue). Henry Langlois, director of the Cinémathèque, began selecting film and non-film material (scripts etc). Coming to the present, I was asked to become the President of the Cinémathèque with its vast material. We plan to make a European Film Museum and we try to find the necessary funding for that. This project is conducted by the French Cinémathèque but it concerns a European museum, because we have a vast collection in storage which should be exhibited. The young should find out more about cinema history and its educational function in contemporary society. Cinema has helped us come in contact with other cultures, as is the case with Kurosawa, whom you mentioned earlier. When Greek films travel abroad, they inform foreign audiences about the Greek way of life and the Greek way of thinking and this is what makes Greek cinema so important.Coming back to the purpose of existence of a Cinémathèque, its aim should be to be screening as many films as possible, not only saving them. Every year at the French Cinémathèque we screen about 2.200 films; this means screening four to five films per day. Sometimes Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, “Missing” (1982) we have large audiences, at others we have smaller. That's what the Cinémathèque is for. One last question; are you afraid that home entertainment may substitute cinema screenings? There is always that risk, but the same has been said about theatre, which is still here after 2.500 years. Cinema is only 120 years old. I believe it will keep on, for the reasons I explained earlier. *Interview by Florentia Kiortsi (Greek News Agenda) and Kostas Mavroidis (GreceHebdo) Grant for screen adaptation of Varoufakis’ book a 630,000-euro Greek government grant to film a screen adaptation of a book by Greece's former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis on the draconian bailouts imposed on Greece. The book, titled Adults in the Room: My Battle With Europe's Deep Establishment, came out in 2017, and chronicles Varoufakis' campaign to lessen financial burdens imposed on ordinary Greeks.The film, budgeted at 1.8-million euros, covers a turbulent time in Greek politics that played out in the first half of 2015 when Varoufakis as finance minister, took Greece and Europe to the brink after demanding that creditors ease crippling reforms G reek-French director CostaGavras has received imposed under two bailout agreements since 2010. A referendum saw the majority of Greeks disagree with a third bailout programme and austerity measures, however following the referendum and the imposition of capital controls by Greek banks, Varoufakis stepped down as finance minister on July 6, 2015, under pressure from the EU and IMF. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras did a U-turn on the government's campaign until then and accepted a third international loan and even more austerity measures.Christos Loulis is playing Varoufakis and Alexandros Bourdoumis is embodying the role of Tsipras. The project has the financial backing of the Greek government, which is contributing 630,000 euros, one third the cost of filming.
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