CULTURE

Director-scriptwriter looks ahead to future prospects

Film, stage and opera director Christoforos Christofis has several good reasons to feel good this summer. His «Diary for Passers-by at the End of the Century,» first presented back in 1996 at the Megaron Mousikis, or Athens Concert Hall, is set to be restaged at the Herod Atticus on August 22. Another of his projects, «The Adventures of Pinocchio,» was chosen by Italian cultural officials as part of the neighboring country’s representation at Italian-Chinese bilateral celebrations scheduled for 2006. He has also received an offer from the Lisbon Opera to direct Bohuslav Martinu’s «Greek Passion» in 2007. Active both at home and abroad in more recent years, Christofis divides his time between Greece and Italy. He is currently in Athens preparing for the upcoming production of «Diary for Passers-by at the End of the Century,» a cantata based on his text. Periklis Koukos wrote the music, which will be performed by the Northern Germany Radio Symphony Orchestra as well as the Giorgos Fakanas jazz orchestra. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1956, Christofis grew up in Athens and studied film and theater in Paris. He has made several films and has also directed operas and plays. Most of his films are based on scripts that he has written and published. Christofis reworked his «Diary for Passers-by at the End of the Century» cantata based on his novel of the same title, published in 1995 by Kedros. «They’re nine songs which I wrote with the voice of Maria Farandouri in mind. We’re connected by an old friendship,» Christofis said. «Lakis Lazopoulos [comic actor] will narrate, while this year’s version will include choreography by Ersi Pitta… There are lots of changes, including the narration. I wrote two new texts especially for Lazopoulos – not his comedy side, but his melancholy side.» An ambitious production, «Diary for Passers-by at the End of the Century» includes six dancers, a 12-member choir, a tenor, a narrator and two orchestras. «It’s a project inspired by the passing of time. Essentially, it’s a kind of diary which I started as a 20-year-old in Paris that’s carried on until the present day,» Christofis said. «From 1978, when I started it, I’ve written, every day, about distinguished moments,» he added. Besides his personal thoughts, Christofis says the diary also documents history on a wider scale. «It’s like a working diary, which, along with my experiences, also includes the country’s history and international developments – the end of the Cold War; the fall of the Berlin Wall; events that affected our generation; individuals that made impact on us for various reasons, from Gorbachev to Reagan,» Christofis explained. Thoughts along these lines prompted Christofis’s first film, 1979’s «Wandering,» and his ensuing films, 1982’s «Rosa» and 1999’s «Monkey Queen.» Christofis says he feels a special affinity for «Diary for Passers-by at the End of the Century» because of its personal nature. «It’s a poetic, philosophical, and caustic diary based on the adventures of a young person in the major cities of the 20th century, one that contains impressions, memories and meetings which create scenes from a century that bids farewell to itself while attempting to understand what’s happening,» said Christofis. «Is it the end or the beginning of an era?»