CULTURE

A sinful journey of self-discovery

«An adventure movie with a donkey and a smile» was how the film director Andreas Pantzis half-jokingly summed up his third feature film, «Word of Honor» (To Tama), a sin-filled trek toward self-discovery by a confused soul. Screenings of the film, which picked up two awards at the recent Thessaloniki International Film Festival, begin tonight. The film tells the story of a priest’s son, Evagoras, a family man who has five daughters but secretly longs for a son. He makes a vow to Saint Andrew, committing himself to making the pilgrimage to the saint’s monastery for his feast day should a son be born. Evagoras is granted his wish, but before setting out, his father, the priest, warns of the inevitable temptations along the way and the importance of arriving clean and pure. Despite the traveler’s promises and ensuing efforts, he eventually commits almost every sin in the book. «It’s a journey of self-discovery over space and time made by Evagoras, whose quest begins in 1940 and ends in 2000,» Pantzis said. «He commits all the sins, with the exception of murder. Otherwise, the film would have turned into a crime movie,» the director added. «Word of Honor» is the director’s second collaboration with the film’s lead actors, Giorgos Horafas and Valeria Golino. They had also been on the cast for Pantzis’s film «The Slaughter of the Cock» (Sfagi Tou Kokkora), his second feature film, made five years before. In «Word of Honor,» the actress Golino, who portrays one of the traveler’s temptations, the symbolic figure of Aphrodite, has a demanding role. «Aphrodite was a difficult role, a female character who is far from realistic. She’s difficult to describe because she speaks mostly about a feeling,» Golino noted. Her colleague Horafas, whose depiction of Evagoras earned him a Best Acting Award at the Thessaloniki Film Festival – the film also won a second Quality Award – concentrated on the lead character’s trek toward self-discovery. «In the end, he realizes that he won’t understand anything and that he must simply go on living his life,» Horafas said. «He surrenders himself to paradox, madness, and the beauty of life,» the actor added. The director, whose latest film was produced on a budget of approximately 2.5 million dollars, refrained from commenting on future projects. «I’ve got to stop making movies, because every one of my films is a financial catastrophe,» said Pantzis, who made his feature-film debut with «The Rape of Aphrodite» in 1985, and whose repertoire also includes documentaries, as well as short and medium-length films. «That’s why, next time, I’ll try and put together an expensive period film about the Middle Ages with lots of sets and costumes, so that I won’t be able get financing for it!«