Tom, though depressed and strongly repelled by his father's sullenness, and the dreariness of home, entered thoroughly into his father's feelings about paying the creditors; and the poor lad brought his first quarter's money, with a delicious sense of achievement, and gave it to his father to put into the tin box which held the savings.
George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss
It is a moral truism that debt must be repaid. In George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, the son of the main character considers it his personal duty to bail out his bankrupt father. The shame of the financial loss would have ruined the moral standing of the whole family. When the crisis broke out in 2008, Europe started to impose this logic on its communities. Greece had to repay its debt, regardless of whether its citizens voted for the governments that indebted them, whether they ever profited from the debt, or whether they even knew that their government was in debt.
Under international law this moral truism does not hold sway. Sovereign states are not like Victorian families. They are allowed to cancel their debt. This law is guided by the principle that countries are first and foremost responsible for their citizens and only then to other countries or credit markets. To protect the interests of the financial industry and the governments of lender countries, the moral rhetoric of the European sovereign debt crisis has neglected this fundamental right. Banks, international organizations and economically more powerful nation-states have reinterpreted debt in a way that makes citizens accountable for the budget deficits of their past governments. ... More
In an era of inane blockbusters and superfluous digital effects, Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest film comes to restore confidence to the continuing significance of cinema in the contemporary world of spectacular capitalism. The Lobster (2015) seems like a film from another era, despite the fact that it comes out of the panics, phobias and dead ends of our time. It employs a cinematic language that challenges expectations and predispositions, while simultaneously providing a novel visualization of plot-structure. In reality, it transforms, or indeed re-imagines, the well-established codes of telling a story cinematically, into a new open-ended plot structure which for the time being frustrates and puzzles.
The Lobster is Yorgos Lanthimos’ fourth movie; through all his previous films, the anxiety of storytelling cinematically can be detected from the deconstructive Kinetta (2005), through the post-linguistic Dogtooth (2009) to the cryptic Alps (2012). In all his films Lanthimos visualizes a main plot which is impacted by countless hidden subplots, which never enter the field of its visuality. What is not depicted is probably what is more significant for the structure of his films; if contemporary films suffer of excessive visual rhetorics, what distinguishes his work is the minimalistic ellipsis in story line, acting style, dialogue, and settings. As his work is still evolving, it is obvious that the Lobster will have the same impact on cinematic debates as Lars von Trier’s The Idiots (1998) had in the recent past. ... More
Syllas Tzoumerkas’ second film is literally having A Blast in its trajectory in the international festival circuit: Since March 2015, when it opened in a number of theaters in the Netherlands, the film found distribution in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, and on September 19, 2015 it premiered in Denmark – opening the way for the raving journey of the main character, Maria (Angeliki Papoulia), beyond the borders of the country, beyond the stereotypes in the representation of a young, Greek, female subject ‘in crisis’. The director discussed his method, his references and profound thoughts on filmmaking with Andrzej Marzec, running the distance between the metaphorical and the literal, between individual and collective truths and illusions. ... More
Lydia Papadimitriou met actor Maria Kallimani at the 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in July 2014, where Athanasios (Thanassis) Karanikolas’s Sto Spiti/At Home was shown as part of the ‘Another View’ section, following the film’s world premiere – and Award by the Ecumenical Jury – at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Through a highly internalized and quietly expressive performance in the leading role of Nadja, Kallimani conveys very effectively the dignity of this domestic worker from Georgia, in a film that departs from stereotypical depictions of immigrants in Greece. Lydia Papadimitriou interviewed Maria Kallimani about her role in the film, her collaboration with writer/director Thanassis Karanikolas and her overall career in the cinema.
Lydia Papadimitriou : I would like to begin by asking you to introduce us to your character Nadja in At Home.
Maria Kallimani : Nadja is a domestic worker from Georgia who has lived over twenty years in Greece, and who, for the last twelve, works for a young, affluent and open-minded Greek couple and their daughter, Iris. She has an unconventional relationship with them – the wife says that she is her friend, and Nadja seems to be part of the family. However, from the opening scene we realize that Nadja has a physical weakness and she soon gets diagnosed with a disease – probably multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, this coincides with financial difficulties for the couple because of the broader economic crisis. So they decide to sack Nadja, and the situation changes dramatically for her. ... More