CULTURE

Waiting for summer lightning

Filmmaker Nikos Lygouris, who lives and works in Berlin, tried to depict Greece as a country that lives off tourism in «Summer Lightning,» the film that was awarded the first prize for a film over 45 minutes at the Sixth Documentary Festival in Thessaloniki. The director, who has produced three feature films and numerous portraits about cinema personalities for German television channel 3 SAT, managed to turn the life of a southern family into a cinematic novel. Set in a seaside motel in southern Crete, the film features the members of a contemporary five-member family which maintains its traditional values. For the past five years, they have been photographing the changes of the light’s reflections upon the water (either to kill time or because of some artistic whim). «It is a kind of chronicle, a lyrical question about the meaning of the life of these southern people who live from and with the sun and the light,» explained the director. The family members are just waiting for a change in their lives, all the more so since the father is thinking of closing down the motel and going back to olive oil production, which he has never really abandoned. «The film is about the death of the traditional Cretan family, contemporary Greece and the industry of the sun,» said Lygouris. Despite the 5,000 photographs already taken, the family is still waiting for «the one,» that of the rare phenomenon of summer lightning. The director did not just want to depict reality, but also to tell a story. «It was an experiment in blurring the boundaries between a documentary and a feature film. I did not direct the family, but wanted to make a poetic documentary to describe their souls. I used documentary means, but the result was a novel.» While preparing for his fourth feature film, which will deal with the relations between a group of people working on a play, next summer he will return to Greece for yet another documentary for German television, about the revival of the Temenos Festival, which Greek-American filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos organized in Arcadia during the 1980s.