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Greece is currently facing one of the worst moments of its history. The same country that invented democracy and distinguished itself in poetry, philosophy and theater is now covered by a thick curtain of economic tribulations and social despair.
It seems to be a common prospect for other Mediterranean countries, for instance Italy and Spain, although it is obvious that Greece has begun its decline in the fastest way: through desperate protests and violent repressions.
Greek movie director Theo Angelopoulos (27 April 1935 – 24 January 2012), whose films often explored his homeland through history and literature, was working on his new film The Other Sea, that would be focused on today’s Athens, when he died. Tragically, he was hit by a passing motorcycle while filming in the streets of Drapetsona, never bringing his vision to life. His concern was with the Greek socio-economic situation and the uncertainty and brutality of the current state of things.
Like Polish director Kieslowski did in his Decalogue, Angelopoulos’ intentions were motivated by both his sensibility and his awareness of Greek politics and people. Unlike his earlier films, which were characterised by a sense of distance and remoteness, this new film was ready to tell us more about the current situation in Greece and the ongoing negotiation between Greek history and contemporary chaos.
Although it does not possess the same strength of theatre, where life and literature unify at the highest degree, cinema has a great power. It can show us how individuals can invent new ways of narrating realities and by doing so offer hope of changing those realities. Through the eyes and sensibility of film directors – in Angelopoulos case his talent is undisputed – reality can be reinvented and offer the hope of better endings.