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“The Greek cinematography industry functions like a lobby”

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Alexandros Avranas • Director


- Miss Violence, by Greek director Alexandros Avranas, was presented in several festivals but still awaits recognition in its own country

Alexandros Avranas • Director

Alexandros Avranas’s words are as raw as his film, Miss Violence [+see also:
film review
interview: Alexandros Avranas
film profile
, in which an adolescent from a seemingly normal middle-class family decides to commit suicide on the day of her birthday. From this tragic event, the filmmaker directs a hellish universe and takes the opportunity to denounce the situation of his country, a situation he  himself experiences. Trained in Berlin, Avranas won four prizes at the Venice Mostra, notably the Silver Lion for Best Director and the Volpi Cup for Best Actor (Themis Panou). After having recently presented his film at the Reykjavik Film Festival, the director took advantage of his passage at the Kustendorf Film Festival  (Serbia) to confide in Cineuropa that he still awaits the recognition of his own country.

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Cineuropa: Beyond all the true events treated in Miss Violence, what inspired you to make this film?

Alexandros Avranas: When I was studying in Berlin, someone told me about the suicide of a teenager in Germany, and I decided to add other real events that took place in Greece to create my own story. Although the film is hard, I wanted the spectator to be able to identify with it. This had an effect on the directing and aesthetics. As for cinematographic references, I’ll say I was hoping there would be some Pasolini, Haneke and Fassbinder in this film, intentionally or not.

We can only make a link between the film and the current situation in Greece.

I didn’t want the movie to take place in Greece. I wanted to make an international film, or at least for the spectator to think the story could happen anywhere in Europe. But it is true there is another level of reading that links back to Greek society: I draw parallels between the members of this family, who cannot live without this man who is causing them harm, and the citizens of my country who complain about our politicians but in the end continue to vote for them.  

Your first feature, Without, won five prizes in Thessaloniki, but it was never distributed in Greece. Why?

This is linked to a problem in the industry and to the fact that Greece is a close society typical of small countries, where a young filmmaker who gains recognition makes enemies. When a guy who studied abroad, a young guy whom no one knows and who has no one to vouch for him, arrives and wins the prize, the usual reaction is to ask: “Who’s he?”. The Greek cinematography industry functions like a lobby.

When this person wins the very prestigious Best Director Award at the Venice Mostra, what happens?

In a way, this small world feels obliged to accept this director, reluctantly. This trophy in Venice was very important for me; it is proof that it’s not all about string pulling and vested interests and that cinema counts for something as well.

Will you receive Greek funding for your next film?

I can assure you that it is my intention to film in Greece and in Greek. Now whether it’ll be made with Greek money... that’s a whole other story. Even if it was only partly funded in Greece, it would be great. I am working on the screenplay and I need to start filming in the spring or summer because the sun and light play an important role in the story.

(Translated from Spanish)

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