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  • Berlinale Q&A: Elina Psykou


Berlinale Q&A: Elina Psykou

Exberliner has a couple of questions for the director of I aionia epistrofi tou Antoni Paraskeua (The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas).

Image for Berlinale Q&A: Elina Psykou
Director of “The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas”

At the height of the Greek credit crisis, the 35-year-old director used government tax incentives and crowdfunding platform groopio.com to finance her surreal debut film, “The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas”, in which a television presenter wanders through an abandoned hotel after faking his own abduction.

In your Berlinale film…

As Nietsche says: the eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again – and you with it, speck of dust!

What was your original trigger?

A TV report: “Wallace Souza, a Brazilian TV presenter and politician, was accused of hiring hitmen to kill people in order to increase the ratings of his program. Suspicions were raised because he was frequently first to the scene of a crime, gathering graphic footage of the victims.”

An alternative title for your film?

The heroic/fabulous/legendary/great/immortal return of Antonis Paraskevas.

Your favourite scene in the film?

The scene where Antonis is singing a cover of Julio Inglesias’ “Me olvide de vivir” while the other actors are dancing, laughing and having fun. I am proud of it because it tells the story of the film in a very original way, combining humour with melancholy. From the moment I wrote it, I knew it would be either the best or the worst scene of the film. I am proud of it because I was brave enough to shoot it.

Why do you make films?

I make films because I am a very curious person and directing satisfies my curiosity! It gives me the opportunity to penetrate into other people’s lives, even if these other people are just imaginary characters!

If you didn’t, what would you do?

I would be an accountant, like my parents. In contemporary Greece, accountants are the most useful and the most well-paid! Plus, I’m good with numbers.

Define a good film.

A good film should make me feel, laugh and think.

Worst compliment/best insult?

The worst compliment I ever received was also the best insult: “You are a control freak!” Yes, I am! I love and I hate it!

Your gravestone will say:

I will not have a gravestone. I will ask my relatives to donate my organs and burn the rest of my body.

Digital vs. celluloid?

Digital technology makes the process of filmmaking cheaper. Therefore it influences the way that I make films by permitting me to make films in the first place.

Most irritating trend in current cinema? The lack of content and the dominance of form. 

Best/worst film you’ve seen lately?

My favourite: Holy Motors by Leos Carax. My least favourite: Cosmopolis by David Cronenberg. Both films take place in a limousine…