Filmmaker still out to do battle with injustice

The relationship between film and politics fuels the work of director Costa-Gavras, who was in Athens last week for the release of his new film «Amen» and also for a small tribute to him organized by the Thessaloniki Film Festival. For 35 years, this mobilizer of public opinion has issued denunciations and sparked controversy. Autocratic regimes, para-state organizations, intrigue and the lack of political freedom are all red flags to this particular cinematic bull. From «Z» to «Amen» – on at movie theaters since last Friday – he has never been afraid to ruffle feathers, even if this has occasionally caused his «own» ideological camp, the French left, for example, to reel in shock, as was the case with «The Confession» (about Czech communist Arthur London, who was persecuted by the Stalinist regime). «Amen» (based on the play by Rolf Hochhuth, «The Representative») relates the horrific indifference shown by the Vatican to the Holocaust during World War II. Born in 1933 in Loutra Iraias, in Arcadia in the Peloponnese, Costa-Gavras was forced to flee Greece in the early 1950s as his father’s background in the resistance made him vulnerable to political persecution. He was 19 when he arrived in France, where he studied film at IDHEC (the founding school of European cinema). Later, he caused a furor with his film «Z,» a political thriller that attributed the assassination of EDA parliamentarian Grigoris Lambrakis to para-state agents. Critics throughout his career have not been generous to Costa-Gavras. While acknowledging his militancy, they accuse him of schematization. Whatever the case, none of his films has failed to arouse comment. He has caused a variety of reactions: And surely it takes courage, stubbornness and passion to continue to needle people when necessary, and the power of sensitivity not to abandon the themes of decay, corruption and the rape of human dignity. Costa-Gavras has remained a revolutionary of 1969, fighting forgetfulness and silence with vigor – and not without some losses.

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