CULTURE

Venice or Berlin for Theo’s film?

As the Venice Film Festival draws closer, it is looking more doubtful whether Theo Angelopoulos will be able to participate in the official program with his latest film «To Livadi Pou Dakryzei,» even though the festival’s director, Moritz de Hadeln, expects the film to be one of the highlights of this year’s competition. The Mostra starts in about a month, on August 27, but the Greek director still has a lot of work to do. Sound-processing is a thorny and time-consuming problem, since the film is set at the beginning and the middle of the 20th century, so all contemporary sounds must be erased. In August, Angelopoulos will have to take a break in order to preside over the jury of the First Copenhagen Film Festival. He was asked to inaugurate this new institution and he accepted; it is now very difficult for him to turn it down, although time is pressing. Therefore, it looks like the director’s latest production might be heading instead to the Berlin Festival. If «To Livadi Pou Dakryzei» is screened at the next Berlinale, this will be Angelopoulos’s first entry in this international film festival and the competition for the Golden Bear. The aim is for the film to open in four European countries (Italy, France, Greece and Germany) at the same time. The film, which has already exceeded the budget of 5 million euros (a very large budget for Greek standards) is the first part of a trilogy, which will be followed by «Trito Ftero» and completed with «Adynati Epistrofi.» Filming started at Kerkini Lake and the Thessaloniki port last winter and was completed in June, after continuous delays because the weather was too sunny. The trilogy covers the history of Greece during the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, through the story of a woman and a love affair. «Through this journey, I am trying to see what taste the 20th century has left in me. What happened to all the movements, the ideas, the conflicts, people’s mobility, and how the 21st century is starting out,» the director has said. «To Livadi Pou Dakryzei» begins in Odessa with the entrance of the Red Army in 1919 and goes as far as 1949. It is a combination of a love story and a Greek tragedy, with obvious references to the ancient Theban Cycle. The leading characters are a boy and a girl who meet at the age of 5 and 3. They part when the man leaves for America and the woman goes on with her life; a painful life, full of arrests and imprisonments. Angelopoulos has invested a great deal in his two leading young actors, Alexandra Aidini and Nikos Poursanidis. The woman’s dominating presence marks the second time that the director is putting the weight of a film of his on a female character (the first time was with «Anaparastasi»). Angelopoulos’s next choice might not be the second part of the trilogy, «Trito Ftero,» as one would expect. The large budget demands different handling of the production and the director is working simultaneously on two entirely unrelated scripts. The first one takes place in Athens alone and stars Harvey Keitel and Michelle Pfeiffer, while the second one is about Cyprus.