Films of sensitivity and radicalism

A week of films on hot topics starts this evening at Ecocinema 2006. First up are two shorts – Esa Nissi’s «The Crow,» a Finnish-Norwegian production, and «The Real Dirt on Farmer Jones,» by Taggart Siegel, tracing the experiences of a farmer who dares to be different in a conservative farming community in the USA. Next is «Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet,» a collaboration by 14 famous directors including Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, Aki Kaurismaki, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog, Bernardo Bertolucci and Jean-Luc Godard. Being screened for the first time in Greece, it is a study of time and how it is experienced in different periods and places, with each director contributing his personal perspective. Producer and compilation director Nicolas McClintock will be at Apollon Filmcenter to introduce the film. The first part of a tribute to Dutch director Joris Ivers screens at 11.00 p.m. with his short «A Valparaiso,» followed by «Children of the Silver Mountain» by Spanish director Juan Betancour, who will be present. Ecocinema 2006, screening from tomorrow to May 17 at Apollon Filmcenter, has shrunk in size but not in quality. There will be around 40 films, including shorts, down from 100 plus in previous years, with 30 in competition for a prize of 10,000 euros. The reduced number will allow the audience – and the jury – to see all the films, festival director Ilias Efthymiopoulos told the press on Monday. The films cover a wide range of vital issues facing the world today and the creative ways that people have found to deal with them. As usual, the selection criteria for the films in competition – all made in the past two years – are «the sensitivity of the filmmaker’s view, the radicalism of the subject and the final artistic result.» Highlights include Thierry Michel’s «Congo River» (Belgium), which reveals both the challenges of war, illness, poverty, deprivation and under development, and the extraordinary optimism of the people, reflected in their ceremonies, song and dance. Michel will answer questions after the screening (Sunday, 10.30 p.m.). A tribute to Brazilian director Jorge Bodansky; «Les Deux Soeurs» by Jasna Krajinovic from Slovenia, a documentary on the life of two young girls who clear land mines in Kosovo; «Asshak – Tales from the Sahara,» Ulrike Koch’s documentary on Touareg nomads; Werner Herzog’s space thriller «The Wild Blue Yonder;» and Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s science fiction film «Our Daily Bread,» which imagines the grim future of food production, are a few of the treats in store in a packed program running till next Wednesday. A series of parallel events starts Saturday (15/5) at Ianos bookstore, opposite the cinema. Thierry Michel, director of «Congo River,» will discuss the geography of water with Efthymiopoulos, MIO-ECSDE Mediterranean NGO Federation president Professor Michalis Skoullos and environmentalist and author Michalis Modinos. Apollon Filmcenter, 19 Stadiou Street, tel 210.325.2817.

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