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Vassilis Mazomenos • Director

"The crisis has transformed people into animals"


- Greek writer-director-producer Vassilis Mazomenos talks about his new film, Lines, which world-premiered in the Tallinn Black Nights Main Competition

Vassilis Mazomenos  • Director
(© BNFF)

Acclaimed Greek writer, director and producer Vassilis Mazomenos’ new film, Lines [+see also:
film review
interview: Vassilis Mazomenos
film profile
, world-premiered in the Tallinn Black Nights Main Competition. Nisimazine sat down with him to talk about the movie and his professional background.

Nisimazine: You studied Political Science; how much has your background in this field influenced your filmmaking?
Vassilis Mazomenos: I studied Political Science because I’m a political human being. I believe that a person without knowledge of history or political opinion is half a person. My passion for expressing this opinion, married with fantasy, made me a filmmaker.

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The characters in the film are forced into extreme situations where they have to make decisions against their will, like forsaking the people around them.
When somebody lives in sheer hell, the first thing to do is to try to escape, the second is to react, and the third is to turn against one another. We are now living through the third stage: the crisis has transformed people into animals.

The visual design of the film is very impressive and adds a lot to the story by accentuating the nightmarish atmosphere. How did you come up with the visual approach to the movie?
I always choose the visual aspect through the theme of the film, and not vice versa. Every time, it is the script that chooses the form it will use to express itself; otherwise, the director is in danger of becoming a formalist. In this film, everything is united by nocturnal scenes comprising long shots at dark locations. Greece has been in a dark, night-like situation during all these years of crisis, so the design and the photography served to heighten this feeling. 

The film consists of seven chapters; which one of them is closest to your heart?
The story closest to me is The Farm because the human body expresses pain, agony and, most of all, the direct relationship to the earth. The effects of the crisis on the farmer make it look as if his family tree has been eradicated.

What is it that you look for in a good film?
First of all, the uniqueness of the concept; secondly, and most importantly, an exceptional film style. All of the other elements (such as acting, photography and music) are secondary to those aforementioned basic ones.

You are the founder and director of production company Horme Pictures, which also organises film lessons for young directors and produces their short films. What inspired you to start teaching and supporting young filmmakers?
The main reason I’ve been a film teacher for over ten years now – in the beginning at another private film school, and now at Horme Pictures – is my ambition to use all my strength to help young directors fulfil their dreams and not have to go through what I went through when I started out in cinema.

Have you got any new projects lined up at the moment?
Actually, yes! I’m in development with my new film, called Guest, a drama-thriller about the revolution of a woman’s inner self. 

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