A life on screen in The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas
by Valentina Di Michele
11/02/2013 - Winner of last year’s Best Work in Progress in Karlovy Vary (including its €10,000 donated by Barrandov Studio), The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas [trailer, festival scope], Elina Psykou’s debut, was presented as a world premiere in the Forum section at the Berlinale, currently still taking place.
The film, a feature film debut, made within the new Greek system of fiscal incentives for the film sector, starts with a Jeep going along a Greek rural street. An unshaved man is hidden in the car’s boot, and it is immediately clear that the uncomfortable transportation choice is completely voluntary.
The man is accompanied into an elegant hotel, closing for the season. He carries a newspaper with him, and once alone, he starts piling up television sets in the hallway.
As soon as he has done this, we discover that our strange man is in fact one of the country’s most well known celebrities: Antonis Paraskevas, a noted and much loved television host.
The scenes that follow show Paraskevas’ dependence on his notoriety and it is pretty clear that he is avidly following the coverage of his sudden disappearance and the collective anxiousness that ensues with a certain amount of satisfaction.
The reason behind his disappearance will be revealed much later, but through Paraskevas’ stay in the hotel, alone and silent as he watches television screens showing his friends, colleagues and bosses, it becomes clear that the man’s entire life revolves around these screens.
The film is an ironic reflection on the importance of public image and of the significance of narcissism within what we think of as a “modern hero.” Psykou seems to see this as a form of amplifier of social, if not political, tendencies (during one channel’s best-of dedicated to his disappearance, a young Parasketas enthusiastically salutes the new year in 2001, and Greece’s entrance into the Euro).
Despite some successful moments (the imaginary musical set up in the hotel), the film does not quite manage to pull off a coherence and profoundness needed for such a complex theme.
Financed through crowd funding on groopio.com, The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas was produced by Giorgos Karnavas for Guanaco Film Production with the support of Stefi S.A. and the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation. International sales are being taken care of by Berlin-based m-appeal.
(Translated from Italian)