CULTURE

‘Brides’ movie gets ready to sail

The first one to envision the launching of «Brides» was Elia Kazan. It was the late American film director who arranged for Martin Scorsese and Pantelis Voulgaris to meet and wished the latter’s 10th feature film bon voyage. Since then, the film has been sailing in international waters with a select crew: Martin Scorsese and Barbara De Fina in production, Ioanna Karystiani writing the screenplay, Giorgos Arvanitis (a longtime collaborator of Theo Angelopoulos and international award-winner) behind the camera, Stamatis Spanoudakis on the music, Damianos Zarifis and Eva Nathena in costume design and Dimitris Katsikis in set design, as well as 150 Greek and foreign actors. The ship’s captain (Voulgaris) pilots the transoceanic King Alexander bearing 700 brides from Greece, Turkey, Russia and Armenia to New York City, where they will meet hundreds of impatient grooms-to-be. The journey begins in 1922 Smyrna, with the women embarking on the long journey with just a photo in hand. «At the turn of the 20th century, mass population movements were at a high… These were poverty-stricken people, cut off from their motherland and native tongue. ‘Brides’ is a tribute to all immigrant women through the ages,» said screenplay writer Ioanna Karystiani at a recent press conference. It was the first official presentation of this landmark production and included the screening of a 5-minute trailer produced by Scorsese and his associates. The film has now entered the editing phase, with special effects currently being developed in Paris. It is scheduled for Greek distribution in late October. At the press conference, Voulgaris related how he and Scorsese wrote to one another extensively during the shooting, while he also stressed the American director’s contribution to the development of the film and the relationship that developed between the two, based on their mutual passion for cinema. «He saw the third cut of ‘Brides’ and his remarks were enthusiastic,» said Voulgaris. «After commenting on the film’s atmosphere, he devoted 20 pages to tiny, individual observations, on a glance, a word, a frame.» Also present at the press conference was producer Barbara De Fina, who spoke about conditions for filming in Greece. «Greece could be an alternative choice for shooting many foreign productions,» said De Fina. «Americans are not aware of the working conditions here. You should inform them about your potential.» De Fina also noted that what prompted her and Scorsese (the two used to be married, but have continued working together following their divorce) to get involved in the project was the story itself. «The issues of ‘Brides’ are universal: It’s about family, love, duty, devotion, these women’s struggle,» she added. For the scriptwriter, the essence of the film lies in the small or greater stories experienced by the characters during the 20-day journey. «It’s all about the love affairs, the friendships, caring for your neighbor, a sense of humanity; all these things which become the essence of their lives, as much as ours,» explained Karystiani. Present at the press conference were actresses Viktoria Haralambidou, Evelina Papoulia and Irini Inglessi. The cast of «Brides» also includes Damian Lewis, Andrea Ferreol, Steven Berkoff, Evi Saoulidou and Costas Sommer.