CULTURE

Costa-Gavras returns to Greece

He was surrounded by all his actors: the charming and playful Riccardo Scamarcio, his Greek colleagues, as well as Giorgos Papalios, the president of the Greek Film Center. Michele Ray-Gavras, his wife, producer and muse was also present. Just before the Athens Concert Hall avant-premiere screening, and flush with the praise he had earned at the Berlin Film Festival, Costa-Gavras spoke about his new film, «Eden is West.» It is his first work that has been filmed largely in Greece, and he talked about his experiences here, his Greek colleagues and his thoughts on immigrants. «The actors that I met here gave me great joy. They are all excellent.» Gavras hopes to produce a film that will be completely Greek in the future. «I have drifted away from Greek reality. I feel deep love and nostalgia for Greece. And that makes it more difficult to find a story I can tell. I am searching for it.» Regarding Elias, the protagonist of «Eden is West,» who speaks an incomprehensible language, he says: «It was imperative that I not give him a definable identity. I did not want him carrying the baggage of his country – I wanted people to see him as a man with no past. When an immigrant leaves his homeland and goes to live in a strange country, he stands back and first tries to understand where he has ended up. He is sensitive, and sees only enemies around him. The idea was to show the immigrant not as a tragic figure, but as human being with problems. And just because this person is searching for his Eden doesn’t mean he is a public danger. We are immigrants too, but we are not dangerous. Millions of French citizens are the children of immigrants.» Costa-Gavras expressed his hope that the new minister of culture will give consideration to proposed legislation for the improvement and modernization of Greek cinema. He considers Theo Angelopoulos the «vanguard of Greek film, because he changed the style of Greek contemporary cinema.» Forty years after «Z,» the now-classic film that made his reputation, Costa-Gavras believes that since the world is now an unhappy place, his aim is to make optimistic films. Back in the 60s, when the world was more hopeful, he preferred to highlight the darker side of humanity.