Αφιερωμα στον Κ. Γαβρά – Tribute to C. Gavras

arrowEnglish version further below

Στις 19 Φεβρουαρίου έχει προγραμματιστεί η πρεμιέρα του έργου «Παράδεισος στη Δύση» του Κώστα Γαβρά.
Το έργο αναφέρεται σε έναν μετανάστη που μέσω των παραλίων της Μασεογείου καταλείγει στο Παρίσι. Μεγάλο μέρος του έργου έχει γυριστεί σε μέρη της Κρήτης όπως Μάλια, Χερσόνησο, Βάι, Αγία Φωτιά, Μοχό.
Στο video που ακολουθεί μπορείτε να δείτε ένα αφιέρωμα στο παγκόσμιας φήμης Έλληνα σκηνοθέτη από το τοπικό Παγκρήτιο Κανάλι.

Λίγα βιογραφικά στοιχεία τα οποία υπάρχουν και στο video.
Γεννήθηκε στα Λουτρά Ηραίας (Αρκαδία) στις 12 Φεβρουαρίου 1933 και σπούδασε Συγκριτική Φιλολογία στη Σορβόνη καθώς και κινηματογράφο στην IDHEC. Εργάστηκε ως βοηθός σε διάφορες παραγωγές και συνεργάστηκε με τον Κλερ και τον Κλεμάν, πριν σκηνοθετήσει την πρώτη του ταινία «Διαμέρισμα Δολοφόνων» το 1965. Καθιερώθηκε με μία σειρά πολιτικών θρίλερ που αποκάλυψαν το βίαιο πρόσωπο δικτατορικών καθεστώτων, μέσα από προσωπικές τραγωδίες ασυμβίβαστων ανθρώπων. Κέρδισε Όσκαρ Καλύτερης Ξένης Ταινίας 1969 (Ζ), Όσκαρ Σεναρίου 1982 (Ο αγνοούμενος), Χρυσό Φοίνικα φεστιβάλ Καννών 1982 (Ο αγνοούμενος), Ειδικό Βραβείο Κριτικής Επιτροπής Φεστιβάλ Καννών 1975 (Ειδικό δικαστήριο), Χρυσή Άρκτος Φεστιβάλ Βερολίνου 1990 (Μουσικό κουτί). To 2002 σκηνοθέτησε την ταινία Αμήν..

Φιλμογραφία
Mon Colonel – Ο Συνταγματάρχης (2006) …. παραγωγός
Le Couperet – Το Τσεκούρι (2005)
Αμήν (2002)
Mad City (1997)
Music Box – Το Μουσικό Κουτί (1990)
Spies like us – Οι Κατάσκοποι που ηρθαν απο τη Ζεστη (1985)
Missing – Ο Αγνοούμενος (1983)
La Vie devant Soi (1977)
Monsieur Klein – Ο Κύριος Klein (1976)
Etat de Siege – Κατάσταση Πολιορκίας (1973)
L`Aveu – Η Ομολογία (1970)
Z (1970)
Les Felins – Ο Τυχοδιώκτης (1964)

…….. English version ……..

February the 19th 2009, the new film of Costas Gavras, «Eden Is West» is coming to the cinemas. A big part of the film was done in various places in Crete, such as Hersonissos, Malia, Vai, Agia Fotia, Mochos.

Constantinos Gavras (born February 13, 1933, Loutra Iraias, Greece), better known as (Constantin) Costas Gavras, is a Greek filmmaker, best known for films with overt political themes, most famously the dark, fast-paced thriller, Z (1969). Most of his movies were made in French; starting with Missing (1982), several were made in English.

Costa-Gavras was born to a poor family in the village of Loutra Iraias, Arcadia. His family spent the Second World War in a village in the Peloponnese, and moved to Athens after the war. His father had been a member of the left-wing EAM branch of the Greek Resistance, and was imprisoned after the war as a suspected communist. His father’s record made it impossible for him to attend university or emigrate to the United States, so after high school Costa-Gavras went to France, where he began his studies of law in 1951.

In 1956, he left his university studies to study film at the French national film school, IDHEC. After film school, he apprenticed under Yves Allégret, and became an assistant director for Jean Giono and René Clair. After several further positions as first assistant director, he directed his first feature film, Compartiment Tueurs, in 1965.

Costa-Gavras was president of the Cinémathèque française from 1982 to 1987. He is a first cousin of recording artist Jimmie Spheeris and filmmaker Penelope Spheeris. His daughter Julie Gavras and his son Romain Gavras are both filmmakers.

Selected films
In Z (1969), an investigating judge, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, tries to uncover the truth about the murder of a prominent leftist politician, played by Yves Montand, while government officials and the military attempt to cover up their roles. The film is a fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963. It had additional resonance because, at the time of its release, Greece had been ruled for two years by the «Regime of the Colonels». Z won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Costa Gavras and co-writer Jorge Semprún won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Foreign Film Screenplay.

L’Aveu (The Confession, direction, 1970) follows the path of Artur London, a Czechoslovakian communist minister arrested and tried for alleged treason and espionage in a «show trial» during the Stalin period.

State of Siege (1973) takes place in Uruguay under a conservative government in the early 1970s. In a plot loosely based on the case of US police official and alleged torture expert Dan Mitrione, an American embassy official (played by Yves Montand) is kidnapped by the Tupamaros, a radical leftist urban guerilla group, which interrogates him in order to reveal the details of secret US complicity with repressive regimes in Latin America.

Missing (1982), also based on actual events, is about an American journalist, Charles Horman, who disappeared in the bloody coup led by General Augusto Pinochet in Chile in 1973. Horman’s father, played by Jack Lemmon, and wife, played by Sissy Spacek, search in vain to determine his fate. Nathaniel Davis, US ambassador to Chile from 1971-1973, a version of whose character had been portrayed in the movie (under a different name), filed a US$150 million libel suit, Davis v. Costa-Gavras, 619 F. Supp. 1372 (1985), against the studio and the director, that was eventually dismissed. The film won an Oscar for Best Screenplay Adaptation.

In Music Box (1989), a respected naturalized American citizen (played by Armin Mueller-Stahl) is accused of being a Nazi war criminal. The film is loosely based on the case of John Demjanjuk.

Amen. (2003), was based in part on the highly controversial 1963 play, Der Stellvertreter. Ein christliches Trauerspiel (The Deputy, a Christian Tragedy), by Rolf Hochhuth. The movie alleges that Pope Pius XII was aware of the plight of the Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, but failed to take public action to publicize or condemn the Holocaust. These issues have continued to be disputed, with the Vatican thus far declining to open to historians all of its archives relating to the extent of the Pope’s knowledge during World War II.

Political-Commercial film
Costa Gavras is known for merging controversial political issues with the entertainment value of commercial cinema. Law and justice, oppression, legal/illegal violence, and torture are common subjects in his work, especially relevant to his earlier films. Costa Gavras is an expert of the “statement” picture.

Gavras has repeatedly explored political terrain. In most cases, the targets of his work have been right-of-center movements and regimes, including Greek conservatives in and out of the military in Z, and perceived authoritarian governments that ruled much of Latin America during the height of the Cold War, as in State of Siege and Missing.

In a broader sense, this emphasis continues with Amen. given its focus on the conservative leadership of the Catholic church during the 1940s. In this political context, L’Aveu (The Confession) provides the exception, dealing as it does with oppression on the part of a Communist regime during the Stalinist period. The fact that L’Aveu appeared two years after the 1968 Soviet bloc invasion of Czechoslovakia may appear relevant to the director’s decision to tackle this issue at that particular time.

Form and style

A dark, threatening, and dramatic tone emerges from the work of Costa Gavras, as he focuses clearly on abuse of power, the dangers of centralized authority, and spies & investigators. His audience generally responds well to this since it makes for a great thriller or mystery, but have at times rejected or been appalled by his work due to its unforgiving content. His style is anything but subtle, although films such as Music Box and Mad City have displayed a significantly more mild approach, in some ways disappointingly so. The former title, however, won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival, and the latter, despite re-inventing the work of Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, still fit the bill of political-commercial cinema, taking on issues of journalism, ethics, and money all at once.

Through popular media, Costa Gavras has brought attention to international issues, some urgent, others merely problematic, and he has done this in the tradition of cinematic story-telling. Z (1969), easily his most famous work, is an account of the undermining in the 1960s of democratic government in Greece, his homeland and place of birth. The format, however, is a mystery-thriller combination that transforms an uncomfortable history into a riveting story. This is a clear example of how he pours politics into plot, bringing epic conflicts into the sort of personal conflicts we are accustomed to seeing on screen. Costa Gavras has attempted several genres, including murder mystery, war film, and straight-up political fiction films. In most cases these are carried through with a dark humor, a comic sense that has helped make issues of politics more bearable to masses of moviegoers and film critics alike.

Throughout his time, Costa Gavras has consistently brought in audiences and given attention to important aspects of the global political climate. This is in part because of his ability to channel a level of cultural awareness and concern, rather than picking plots purely of his own making. Still, if only from the list of his works, it becomes clear that he does in fact have a personal agenda, one which, due to the timing and audience of his films, has been met with much controversy (interestingly, there are very obvious ties between his own life experiences and the topics of choice). His accounts of corruption propagated, in their essence, by European and American powers (Z, State of Siege and Missing) highlight problems buried deep in the structures of these societies, problems which not everyone is comfortable addressing. The approach he adopted in L’Aveu also subtly invited the audience to a critical look focused on structural issues, delving this time into the opposite Communist bloc. The same is true for “Amen”, which threw the Roman Catholic Church back into a fire of speculation and criticism regarding their failure to publicize and condemn the Holocaust at the time it was underway. This sort of direct challenge makes Costa Gavras both disliked and loved, depending on where he chooses to side on an issue. This is a testament to his ability not only as a filmmaker but as an artist fully capable of producing a “statement” piece, even in today’s cinematic climate.

Filmography

  1. Eden Is West (2009) (completed)
    … aka Eden à l’ouest (France)
    … aka Paradeisos sti disi (Greece)
  2. Couperet, Le (2005)
    … aka Arcàdia (Spain: Catalan title)
    … aka The Ax (International: English title: literal title)
    … aka The Axe (Australia: TV title)
  3. Amen. (2002)
    … aka Amen (France)
    … aka Der Stellvertreter (Germany)
    … aka Eyewitness
  4. Mad City (1997)
  5. Lumière et compagnie (1995)
    … aka Lumière and Company (International: English title)
    … aka Lumiere y compañía (Spain)
  6. À propos de Nice, la suite (1995) (segment «Les Kankobals»)
  7. Petite apocalypse, La (1993)
    … aka Piccola apocalisse, La (Italy)
    … aka The Little Apocalypse
  8. Contre l’oubli (1991) (segment «Pour Kim Song-man, Corée»)
    … aka Écrire contre l’oubli
    … aka Against Oblivion
    … aka Lest We Forget
  9. Music Box (1989)
  10. Betrayed (1988 )
  11. Conseil de famille (1986)
    … aka Family Business
  12. Hanna K. (1983)
  13. Missing (1982)
  14. Clair de femme (1979)
    … aka Chiaro di donna (Italy)
    … aka Die Liebe einer Frau
    … aka Womanlight (USA)
  15. Section spéciale (1975)
    … aka Affare della sezione speciale, L’ (Italy)
    … aka Sondertribunal – Jeder kämpft für sich allein (West Germany)
    … aka Special Section
  16. État de siège (1972)
    … aka Amerikano, L’ (Italy)
    … aka Der Unsichtbare Aufstand (West Germany)
    … aka State of Siege
  17. Aveu, L’ (1970)
    … aka The Confession (UK) (USA)
    … aka Confessione, La (Italy)
  18. Z (1969)
  19. Un homme de trop (1967)
    … aka 13º uomo, Il (Italy)
    … aka Shock Troops
  20. Compartiment tueurs (1965)
    … aka The Sleeping Car Murder
    … aka The Sleeping Car Murders
  21. Rates, Les (1958 )

Here follows a video from a local channel presenting a tribute to Costas Gavras.

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