Second Greek entry at Venice examines fear

Film director Nikos Panayiotopoulos’s «Delivery» is not the sole Greek entry at the 61st Venice International Film Festival. Ektoras Lyghizos’s «Agna Niata» (Pure Youth) is participating in the Corto Cortissimo competition section for shorts. The 28-year-old filmmaker will present his second work on Saturday in Venice, after his «Interior with a woman peeling apples (Details)» which had received a Greek State Award. «Agna Niata» deals with two days in the life of a primary school teacher. The first day is about the celebrations for the October 28 National Holiday, where a sudden incident, when the flag-bearer panics in front of the crowd, upsets the day. The story develops at the same time as another day in the school, when an earthquake alert drill has an unexpected ending. What is the link between the two days? «The film is about fear, mostly fear in front of a crowd,» said the director. «When we stand in front of people, we have to prove something.» Does the Venice audience not cause any such feelings? «No, I don’t feel any fear regarding the festival, only joy. A lot of luck was required for this to happen and I am eagerly looking forward to it. The only existing fear is that you always want to change something in the film and that is not possible.» As a new filmmaker, Lyghizos did not face great difficulties in producing his film. «I had some trouble, but nothing hugely difficult. There are more problems in making a full-length film,» adding that this is something he is not interested in doing just yet. «I would like to film another short before thinking about the next step.» Lyghizos has confidence in his generation regarding cinema. «I think my generation will change a lot. There are about four or five directors about my age who could also do very well abroad with their full-length films. Greece’s greatest problem is that there is no training in filmmaking. That is our disadvantage compared to other countries where, because of their training, they take it for granted that they can tell a story and they know how a film looks right.» Until he moves on to his next film, Lyghizos, who has had experience in theater as an assistant to Lefteris Vogiatzis and Antonis Kalogridis, will make his directing debut in the theater with Gary Owen’s «Drowned World,» which will be staged at the Amore Theater, as part of the Trials series. «The theater is very frightening, because it will be the first time I have to make great personal decisions,» he said. «Agna Niata» features actors Aspasia Alevra, Georgia Papadopoulou, Valerios Vrontis and Thanos Samaras.

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