CULTURE

An everyday hero in an unjust world

Film director Filippos Tsitos and actor Antonis Kafetzopoulos enjoy a particularly creative collaborative relationship. They have worked together on two award-winning Tsitos films, ?Akadimia Platonos? (Plato?s Academy) in 2009 and more recently in ?Adikos Kosmos? (Unfair World), a comedy drama produced last year. Both films earned the two men awards at European festivals — most recently, in September last year, ?Unfair World? won the Best Director and Best Actor awards at the 59th San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain.

In ?Unfair World,? currently showing at local theaters, Kafetzopoulos takes on the role of Sotiris, a police investigator striving for justice. When he commits a murder, however, he is forced to pay for his actions. According to the actor, the reasons behind Sotiris?s character change are socially motivated. Besides Kafetzopoulos, the film also stars Christos Stergioglou and Theodora Tzimou.

What makes Sotiris change his attitude toward life so suddenly?

This is something Filippos and I haven?t really discussed. I think that Sotiris?s change has to do with society. The fact that we have reached a point where each and every one of us needs to rethink our lives all over again, that society is not operating in its regular mode. There is a generalized sense of insanity, a certain amount of hypocrisy and a feeling of injustice. Sotiris is very much aware of this injustice.

Though the script was penned a few years ago it seems very appropriate given today?s situation.

This is the case with major works of art and Filippos?s movie is precisely that. These works of art are gifted: They turn their microscopic lens onto a very specific type of person, something which subsequently becomes very interesting when you realize that it concerns another million people. Something very specific becomes a generalization. Isn?t that the case in Clint Eastwood?s films? Most of the heroes in his best films are nobodies, just like Sotiris.

It has been said repeatedly that Tsitos?s films are reminiscent of Aki Kaurismaki?s. Do you see any similarities?

I don?t think it?s something worth discussing in great detail. It?s a fact that Filippos is a fan of Kaurismaki?s work. Personally, I?m not; I prefer Tsitos?s movies to those of Kaurismaki.

Sotiris wants to change but he seems to be punished for it.

Yes, but he does commit the ultimate crime: He kills a man. I think the idea behind the script is that when a man makes a terrifying transgression he gets a huge slap across the face. Sotiris was all about law and order, but in the end, he was held accountable for breaking the law.

How do you feel about the awards you earned for both ?Plato?s Academy? and ?Unfair World??

If I were a 25-year-old actor I would see them as a reason for developing a career. At this point in my life, however, they provide an opportunity for feeling joyful, a sense of satisfaction. Even more so because ours is a film industry which only started making its presence felt abroad in the last few years. We don?t have the confidence of Iranian filmmakers, for instance, who have a certain ?school? in cinema. Not only they do not know our names when we attend international film festivals, they can?t even pronounce them. So it?s very gratifying when they see our work and say, ?They?re up to something good; let?s give them an award.?