Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

Like Stone Lions at the Gateway Into Night

Documentary Film
France,
Greece,
Switzerland
2012
87 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Pierre-Alain Meier, prince Film SA
Olivier Zuchuat
Olivier Zuchuat
Olivier Zuchuat
Olivier Zuchuat, Eleni Gioti
Aris Athanassopoulos
The slow travelling shot along a stone wall through whose openings we get only occasional glimpses of the azure sea suggests an antique excavation. But appearances are deceptive, for this is 1948. The world is still under the shock of the World War when old frontlines re-emerge in Greece and a violent civil war begins. The Communist Party and the National Liberation Front, who just fought the Fascists in a gruelling partisan war, are banned and 80,000 Greeks are deported to barren islands like Makronisos. The crackling loudspeakers broadcast perfidious prohibitions and the mantra of the ten commandments which demand that people renounce communism and join the patriotic fight for “God, country and freedom”. Their goal: re-education. In reality this is psychological terror, combined with harassment and torture. But the walls of Makronisos aren’t silent. Their cracks used to hide poems by many poets like Yannis Ritsos, Tassos Livaditis and Mikis Theodorakis, who were interned here. Their yearning metaphors and powerful poetry are an attempt to stand up to the crude propaganda permanently broadcast throughout the tent camp. The Swiss director Oliver Zuchuat lets the texts clash and speak for themselves in a strict and consistent composition.

Cornelia Klauß



Preis der Ökumenischen Jury 2012