CULTURE

Greek-German movie ‘My Sweet Home’ ready for verdict in Athens

One year has elapsed since Philippos Tsitos’s film «My Sweet Home» competed at Berlin’s Berlinale film festival, and now the film has made its debut with the mainstream Greek audience. «I am very anxious,» said Tsitos in a recent interview. «Of course there have already been two screenings, at the Goethe Institute and the Trianon cinema, to people who are not in the film business, and I saw good reactions. They seemed to enjoy the film. That’s what I really want because you make a film in order to communicate with society.» In Berlin, «My Sweet Home» received mixed reactions. «Some of the German critics were angry because at the time there was some friction between the artists and the festival director. Thus, since the film was in the festival as a German entry, I got the brunt of the squabble and they blamed my film for its low cost and profile.» Just like his film, Tsitos is split between two countries: Greece and Germany. «My home is back and forth, the understanding that I live here and there. My friends are my anchor and they are here. I live in Berlin for two reasons: because you can make a living doing this work and because you have a sense of being in the middle of everything. Here, we nurture our provincial outlook,» explains the young director. One of the focal points of Tsitos’s film is the multicultural character of Berlin and a Greek man’s efforts to integrate himself into its society. «The foreigners living in Greece have not really become a part of our lives yet. You see them, you know they exist and if you look around, you’ll discover where they hang out. But, because they mostly came here as economic refugees, they keep themselves on the margins and we marginalize them further. Abroad, foreigners are there for many different reasons. They study, work, mix in more and lead a life just like everyone else,» says Tsitos. As for the young director’s future? «My Sweet Home» will be making its German premiere on April 25 and, according to Tsitos, it is already being talked about in other markets worldwide. In the meantime, «there are one or two ideas here and there, but it is too soon to say anything yet since I have not written the screenplay,» says Tsitos. «I miss a screenwriter, but when you want to go beyond the mainstream, you have to find someone with whom you can communicate in depth, and that’s quite tough. That is why many directors, even in Germany, write their own screenplays.» Tsitos also had a bit of advice for Constantinos Giannaris, whose film « A Day in August» is entering this year’s Berlinale. «It is very important that what the film is about and where it comes from is stressed before the first screening. Germans and the festival visitors will be interested because it is rare for a Greek film to be shown. I think that only good can come from participating in a festival,» advises Tsitos. «But, as a film industry, we are somewhat sidelined in the West’s consciousness. We have to be original if we want to make an impression, especially since we are talking in the Greek language.»