CULTURE

Atom Egoyan presents work in Greek capital

Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan’s recent visit to Athens opened a new series of activities by the Thessaloniki Film Festival. The «Film Festival in Athens» will sponsor and jointly organize the premieres of selected films. Egoyan’s «Where the Truth Lies» acted as curtain raiser. The director, who first had contact with the Greek public through the Thessaloniki Film Festival, presented his film at the recent official premiere which took place at the Asty cinema earlier this week. «I realized I had never been to Athens, only to Thessaloniki,» said the «Exotica» and «Sweet Hereafter» director, who is of Armenian descent. Egoyan attributed his name to his parents’ hippy mentality and not to his Armenian roots. «Instead of Adom, which is the proper version of the Armenian name, my parents named me Atom because they believed in the atomic age. They went even further in my sister’s case: Her name means ‘molecule.’» «Where the Truth Lies» follows the story of an artistic duo (played by Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth) years after they have parted ways and tells different versions of the truth regarding a death that coincided with their artistic «divorce.» «I try to approach the historical and the personal truth in my films,» said Egoyan. «My new film develops the truth of folk culture, because these two people were famous. But there is something entirely different in their lives. Personally, I am interested in the story that is not being told.» The film is set in two different periods of time, the 1950s and the 1970s. «I had to reproduce these two decades and I plunged into their atmosphere,» Egoyan said. «I was very happy to experiment with these genres. I love the film noir and neo-noir genres as well as films by Alan Pakula and Robert Altman. Although I didn’t want my movie to entirely resemble a film noir, its structure is the same and it is a tribute to the genre.» Talking about Greek filmmakers he respects, Egoyan said that Elia Kazan and John Cassavetes are obvious references as directors of Greek descent and also mentioned Theodoros Angelopoulos and Michael Cacoyannis. He made an unexpected and strong reference to George Cosmatos, a Greek-Canadian filmmaker mostly known for filming commercial adventure movies. «We are both from Canada’s Victoria and we used to meet up at times,» he said, «when I had finished ‘Exotica’ he was releasing ‘Tombstone.’ And while I was thinking that he had secured yet another commercial success, he asked me how I managed to send my films to the festivals. I recently watched once more one of his films, ‘Escape to Athena,’ one of the most entertaining adventures I have ever seen. What I mean is that when we talk about national cinema, we often underestimate those who launch a career in a different genre. Having a commercial career is very difficult and Cosmatos was very proud of his descent.»