A PLACE CALLED HOME

A PLACE CALLED HOME

Original Title: To dentro kai i kounia

Synopsis

Eleni, a professor of cardiology in London, has been estranged from her father, Kyriakos, for many years. Kyriakos has never forgiven her for leaving her country. When Eleni’s husband, Harris, is posted to China on an open-ended contract, she realizes the danger of a new uprooting and decides to visit Greece and make peace with her father. But when she reaches home, nothing she finds is as she expects. Nina, a woman from Serbia, is living with Kyriakos, looking after him and his big estate. It seems Kyriakos has been keeping a few secrets of his own.

Technical Information

2013; Greece, Serbia; Drama, Family; 108 minutes; DCP, HDCAM-SR; 1:1.85; 5.1 mix; Original Language: English, Greek, Serbian; Subtitles: English

DIRECTOR

Maria Douza

WRITER

Maria Douza

D.O.P.

Zafeiris Epameinondas

EDITOR

Yannis Kostavaras

MUSIC

Anna Stereopoulou

PRODUCTION COMPANY

Steficon Production

PRODUCER

Michael Sarantinos, Eleni Atsikbasis, Vasilis Katsoufis

LINE PRODUCER

Roula Nikolaou, Matija Simunec

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Giovanni Tzanetis

COSTUME DESIGN

Nikol Panagiotou

Eleni
Myrto Alikaki

Nina
Mirjana Karanovic

Kyriakos
Elias Logothetis

Markos
Nikos Orfanos

Anna
Iris Mitta

Mira
Eleni Kouletsi

2016

SILK ROAD FILM FESTIVAL

Sep 18 – 25

2015

GREEK CINEMA CLUB OF LUXEMBOURG

Oct 20 – 21

2014

DESERT FILM SOCIETY

Dec 20 – 20

 

Toronto –

EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL

Best of EUFF 2014

Nov 29

EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL

Nov 15 – 30

GRIECHISCHE FILMWOCHEN MÜNCHEN

Nov 14 – 23

STARZ DENVER FILM FESTIVAL

Nov 12 – 23

KOLKATA INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Nov 10 – 17

HAIFA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Oct 09 – 18

TAOYUAN FILM FESTIVAL

Sep 26 – Oct 05

 

CYPRUS INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Best Cinematography Award – Zaphiris Epaminondas

Sep 14

 

CYPRUS INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Best Leading Actress Award – Myrto Alikaki

Sep 14

 

CYPRUS INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Best Script Award

Sep 14

 

CYPRUS INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Golden Aphrodite Award for Best Feature

Sep 14

 

CYPRUS INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Best Original Music Score Award – Anna Stereopoulou

Sep 14

 

CYPRUS INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Best Production Design Award – Steficon

Sep 14

 

CYPRUS INT. FILM FESTIVAL

BEst Leading Actor Award – Elias Logothetis

Sep 14

CYPRUS INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Sep 07 – 13 (in competition)

FLYIING BROOM INT. WOMEN’S FILM FESTIVAL

May 08 – 15

 

SAN FRANCISCO GREEK FILM FESTIVAL

Astron Award for Best Feature Film

May 03

SAN FRANCISCO GREEK FILM FESTIVAL

May 02 – 09 (in competition)

EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL

Mar 07 – Apr 03 (in competition)

BALKAN NEW FILM FESTIVAL

Feb 14 – 16

PUNE INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Jan 09 – 16

BANGALORE INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Jan 03 – 08

2013

CHENNAI INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Dec 12 – 19

MEDITERRANEAN FILM FESTIVAL BRUSSELS

Dec 05 – 12

INT. FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA GOA

Nov 20 – 30

GREEK FILM FESTIVAL AUSTRALIA

Nov 07 – 24

NEW YORK CITY GREEK FILM FESTIVAL

Oct 03 – 16

ATHENS INT. FILM FESTIVAL

Sep 18 – 29

MONTRÉAL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL

Aug 21 – Sep 01

A Journey Within

Greek filmmaker Maria Douza, whose film“A Place Called Home” was screened at the Kolkata International Film Festival, talks about making films in a country going through its worst economic crises.

When getting an interview of Greek filmmaker Maria Douza seemed impossible after doing multiple rounds of the press centre and committee room at Nandan, the venue of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), a call at her hotel room lifted my spirit. Within seconds she agreed to have a chat over breakfast. As we talked cinema, what impressed me was her warmth and unassuming nature.

Her critically acclaimed directorial debut “A Place Called Home” was an entry at the International Competition section. Though Douza’s film was part of the Greek Vignettes’ at the IFFI in Goa last year, she still accepted the KIFF invite because she didn’t want to miss the chance of visiting the city of Satyajit Ray, whose work she values. “I got introduced to Ray’s works when studying at London’s National Film and Television School. His aesthetics, style and ability to capture the essence of a subject are inspirations to many,” she said.

For Douza, if human relationships are interesting, human predicament is intriguing and she tried to capture the essence of both in her first feature film. Inspired by the real life story of a Polish woman, she weaved it with her own experience of returning to Athens after living in England for 12 years and crafted a film that explores migration, separation and estrangement.

Set against the backdrop of a post-World War II divided Europe and its reunification in the late 90s after Communism collapsed, it revolves around Eleni, a successful Greek doctor living in the UK for last 15 years. When she visits her estranged father, Kyriakos, in Greece, she is surprised to find a Serbian woman, Nina, and her daughter living in her family home. Douza deftly creates drama exploring tensions and emotions in human relationships as she unravels secrets.

“I chose the theme of migration because of the growing racism and intolerance in Greece today. I wanted to show how for some it’s a compulsion, for some it’s a conscious decision, while for others a financial necessity. Further, odyssey is ingrained in Greek culture. In the past we were traders and in the 20{+t}{+h}Century we became immigrants. Even in Kolkata there was a thriving Greek community in the 17{+t}{+h}and 18{+t}{+h}centuries, but they left,” she explained.

Douza credited her father for instilling in her the passion for cinema. It was he who introduced her to films by Bergman, Antonioni, Fellini, Mizoguchi at a very tender age. “So you see studying filmmaking was a natural progression,” she laughed. Though she has written and directed a number of short length fiction films, documentaries, ad commercials and social awareness spots, she took her time to direct a full-length feature film because raising her two kids was her priority.

Today, her film may have been acclaimed in festival circuits, but uncertainty looms large over making her next movie though the script based on a novel by Pantelis Kaliotsos is ready. “Arranging fund in a country that is witnessing its worst economic crisis since WWII isn’t easy. For my first film, I had to wait for five years after finishing the script and getting all approvals,” she rued.

What impressed Douza at KIFF is the standard of movies screened. “The movies were original, treatments were modern, but cinematic quality wasn’t compromised. Films like “Delight”, “Eyes of a Thief” and “Self Made” were multi-layered, high on aesthetics and distinct in style.” However, she is not really familiar with the works of contemporary Indian filmmakers and could only name Buddhadeb Dasgupta.

Ask her what is she taking back from KIFF and pat she replies, “Great experience. People here are so warm. Audience so well informed. They would interact and ask questions.”

2014-12-03

The Hindu –

Toronto Greek FIlm Retrospective

Maria Douza’s first feature length film is an elegantly crafted story that explores the themes of estrangement and separation and homecoming with powerfully understated direction. Mirto Alikaki play Eleni, a successful Greek doctor who finds out her husband is being re-located to Shanghai for a fiscal restructuring. This triggers a sudden desire for her to return to Greece and visit her father, who is also the town mayor.

Her father Kyriakos (a resonating performance by Ilias Logothetis) is not alone when Eleni arrives as a Serbian woman Nina (Mirjana Karanovic) has filled the house with life again for the first time in decades. But nothing is as it seems and the film unravels secrets and mysteries that could only be revealed when everyone has returned to the family table.

Alikaki and Karanovic move through the house peering and stalking one another for clues and hints of who the other woman is, and Douza makes excellent use of camera moves to create dramatic tension that takes the air out of each room.

A special mention should be made of the excellent work of both Cinematographer Epameinondas Zafeiris and Set Designer Tziovanni Tzanetis. From the first drive through the mountains and deep woods towards the ancestral home all the way inside the home to the century-old doors and detailed set dressing, one feels immersed in the authenticity of the story.

A PLACE CALLED HOME is a sure-handed debut from a filmmaker that has chosen to invest her film with the timeless (and often Greek) theme of returning home. Writer/Director Douza suggests that as human beings from different places we endure and survive with recognition that we are more similar than we are foreign to one another.

DANNIS KOROMILAS

DIRECTOR: GREEK FILM RETROSPECTIVE/TORONTO

2014-12-03

Dannis Koromilas

Filmink Review

Douza has crafted a wonderful character piece about the meaning of family and the different places we call home. […] The filmmaker has written a strong script that gives each of the key characters room to develop and directing wise she showcases the Greek countryside beautifully in every scene, making it another character in the film. Performances by the main cast are first rate, with Alikaki especially impressive as the woman torn between her new life and her old one, all the while trying to find a sense of home for her young daughter.

A Place Called Home is a dramatically beautiful look at the fractured lives of one Greek family as they try to regain a sense of family that they once had. It makes for engaging viewing.

2013-10-31

Tom Loquet

Cineuropa Review

Alikaki’s powerful performance and Karanovic’s more subtle tones provide the film’s ensuing power-games with a fine balance, which Douza uses to push her drama towards a family’s reconstruction after the prodigal child’s long-awaited return.

Cinematographer Epameinondas Zafeiris does an ace job at implementing the countryside’s plethora of natural elements, without having them override the dry palettes that accentuate the story’s emotional turmoil, while set decorator Dimitris Margaritis’ detailed work provides a rich and realistic backdrop to a home-coming story that not only transports our main character across a continent, but also a few decades back, straight into her childhood – right where home always lies.

2013-09-20

Joseph Proimakis

Maria Douza studied History and Medieval Greek Literature in Greece, and film direction at the National Film and Television School of England. In 1994, she graduaded, with a record of seven short and medium length films. Among them were the awarded films “The Bridge” and “The Island”. In 2003, Maria started writing her first feature screenplay The Tree and The Swing. While in development, the screenplay received the Media New Talent Award, and the Odysseus Best Screenplay Award, but had to wait for some years before being realized, because of the financial crisis. Maria Douza is currently working on new projects “Beautiful City” and “Trapped”.

Selective Filmography

Short

1994 The Island
1990 The Bridge
1987 Happy Birthday Isabelle
1987 Hands
1985 Study

MYRTO ALIKAKI

MYRTO ALIKAKI was born in Paris in 1972 and lived there until she was three. After finishing school she studied French Literature at the University of Thessaloniki and Acting at the Art Theatre – Karol Koun Drama School, from where she graduated in 1993. She later studied dance. Since then she has been working in the theatre, the cinema and the television.

She has played leading parts in the films My Brother and I, by Antonis Kokkinos, Black Out, by Menelaos Karamaggiolis (Best Actress Award), Under the Stars, by Christos Georgiou, and The Tree and The Swing, by Maria Douza. She has performed a wide range of leading roles of the international theatre repertoire, and has held the main part in lots of TV series: Anastasia, Absent, Singles, 10th Commandment, The Room of the Throne, If you love me etc.

Myrto teaches acting at the Art Theatre Karol Koun Drama School, speaks fluent English and French, and has two children.

Selective Filmography

Feature Film

2010 Epikindynes mageirikes
2007 Kleftes
1998 O adelfos mou ki ego
1998 Black Out p.s. Red Out
1996 Kavafis

TV Series

2009 Karma
2008 O angelos mou o diavolos mou
1998 I aithousa tou thronou

ELIAS LOGOTHETIS, born at the island of Lefkada, studied Acting at the Art Theatre – Karol Koun Drama School, and under the guidance of the big master and founder of the theatre, he became one of the more talented and diverse actors of his generation. Even from before his graduation, he plunged into the deep waters of the international theatre repertoire, holding lead roles in the plays of Becket, Pinter, Shakespeare, Ionesko, Tenessy Williams, etc. 

His acquaintance with the Greek composer Yannis Christou and the British playwright Harold Pinter have marked his career, and he was fortunate enough to perform the role of «Spooner» in front of the latter in his play No Man’s Land. He has worked closely with a number of Greek theatre and film directors like Yannis Smaragdis, Andreas Thomopoulos, Tassos Psarras, Kostas Ferris, as well as Theo Angelopoulos and Lakis Papastathis. His performances in the films Babylonia (by George Dizikirikis) and The Children of Helidona (by Kostas Vrettakos), earned him two Best Actor awards. Lately, he has been studying, directing and performing George Vizyinos’(1849 – 1896) classic work, The Sin of my Mother, in what he describes as his most valuable and personal contribution to Greek dramaturgy.

Selective Filmography

Feature Film

2013 Wild Duck

2011 Oi ippeis tis Pylou

2003 Um Filme falado – Reise nach Bombay

1998 Oi arithmimenoi

1998 To ainigma

1995 O tsalapeteinos tou Wyoming

1987 Made in Greece

TV Series

2004Voitheia geitonoi

MIRJANA KARANOVIĆ, born in Belgrade is a Serbian actress known for many important roles in former Yugoslav films during the past thirty years. She made her screen debut in 1980 film Petrija’s Wreath, earning accolades for her portrayal of an illiterate Serbian woman. She is best known to international audiences by her portrayal of the mother in the 1985 Emir Kusturica film When Father Was Away on Business.

She also played in the 1995 award-winning Kusturica movie, Underground. In 2003 Mirjana Karanović again made history by appearing in Croatian film, Witnesses. She was the first actress from Serbia to appear in a Croatian film since the break-up of Yugoslavia. In the film she played a Croatian war widow. In 2005 she played the main part in the film Grbavica (Golden Bear, at Berlinale 2006) by the Bosnian director Jasmila Žbanić, portraying a rape victim abused by Chetniks during the Bosnian War who has to come to terms with her teenager daughter regarding the nature of her birth.

Since then she has been in lots of films, Here and There, by Darko Lugulov, The Tree and The Swing, by Maria Douza and Monument by Darko Lugulov, among them.

Selective Filmography

Feature Film

2012 The Whirlpool
2010 Na putu aka Zwischen uns das Paradies
2006 Das Fräulein
2006 Grbavica
2003 Witnesses
1995 Underground
1985 When Father Was Away on Business

 

TV Series

2008 Vratice se rode