Greece, Germany, Jordan, Venice

The Evens Foundation – a European body which provides funding for film projects – made it perfectly clear that this year’s entries had to be located in Jordan and had to include an encounter or a meeting. The foundation received 20 entries and from those selected just three: one by a Palestinian filmmaker, another by an Algerian and a third by a Greek German. Director Timon Koulmasis was born in Germany and currently resides in France. Koulmasis is better known for his documentary work, including «Ulrike Marie Meinhof» and «Anis N. Terrorist or Revolutionary?» and for last year’s «Avant la nuit» (which was screened at the Thessaloniki Film Festival and is due to be shown at mainstream theaters in November). His 18-minute entry for the Evens Foundation competition has been selected for screening out of competition at the Venice Film Festival, which begins tomorrow. Here’s how Koulmasis describes the narrative: «A Greek woman, played by Maria Kehayioglou, aged around 40, goes on a trip to the Jordanian desert to meet an elderly Palestinian man. The first few scenes make it clear that they are both very ill at ease, upset, but we do not know why until the very end. The woman is traveling with a coffin that contains the corpse of her husband, who died in exile. The dead man is the old man’s son.» The film, Koulmasis says, shows how the woman and her father-in-law meet for the first time, under extremely tense circumstances. Communication is strained, as the woman has not been fully accepted by her husband’s society. «The mood is abstract, the scenery very bare,» the director says. «I wanted to approach the essence of the film, which is about the encounter of two very different cultures.» The title, «De quelle couleur sont les murs de votre appartement?» (What Color are the Walls of Your Apartment), is the first phrase uttered by the old man, his way of starting a conversation. The inspiration for the film came from a poem by Palestinian Mahmud Darwish, which refers to people who die in exile. The production team of the film consisted of Palestinians, French and Jordanians and, often, communication was near impossible. «They play very differently, more expressively, they wear a lot of makeup,» explains the director. «Ali Abdelaziz (the actor who plays the old man) is a star in Jordan. His participation was an act of generosity on his part.»