Artist’s film at Locarno

At this year’s Locarno International Film Festival, which will run from August 6 to 16, artist Kyriakos Katzourakis’s documentary «The Way to the West» will represent Greece, in the hope of continuing the tradition which Penny Panayiotopoulou’s film established last year. Young Giorgos Karayiannis was awarded the best male actor award for his excellent performance in Panayiotopoulou’s «Hard Goodbyes: My Father.» Well-traveled Katzourakis’s documentary has already received the Fipresci International Federation of Film Critics prize at the Documentary Festival in Thessaloniki. It was then presented at the Cannes Festival, at a special screening organized by the National Film Center, and was chosen to represent Greece in Locarno’s «Directors of Today» program. The documentary, which is about immigrants in Athens, is Katzourakis’s first full-length film and will be released next winter. It took two-and-a-half years for Katzourakis, together with Alexis Grivas, to complete the documentary, which is a mix of factual and storytelling elements. Katzourakis explained the reasons which drove him to shoot a film about immigrants, in an interview he gave to Kathimerini back in April. «It was their faces that I found very appealing. They have this genuine beauty and charm, like the faces we used to see in the cities when people first started to move in from the countryside. Their faces lack artifice, their eyes are wide open and they are thirsty for life. I saw mixed feelings in the visages of immigrants in Athens today: fear and awe of the big city, together with hope.» So far, Katzourakis has been known mostly as an artist of politically tinged paintings, especially his realistic figurative works at the end of the 1960s. He has also been involved with the theater. In Japan After Locarno, the documentary will travel to Japan in October, for the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. Overall, only 15 documentaries will take part in this major festival, and Katzourakis’s documentary was selected among 902 films that were entered.

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