Adonis Floridis: The untold stories deconstruct the dominant narrative | Liberal

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The Cypriot director talks about the 3the of the feature film “Africa Star” which is revealed to the public of the island in its context 22u Cyprus International Film Festival Days 2024.

“Africa Star” made its world premiere with success a few days ago at the Sofia Festival. It follows three generations of Cypriot women – mother, daughter and granddaughter – whose lives are tragically changed by the act of a man who succumbs to a temptation. According to Adonis Floridis, the condition that the film explores is poverty as the worst form of violence and how this condition determines the existence of the poor woman as the person on the bottom rung of the hierarchical power system. The Cypriot director and screenwriter emphasizes that the cinema he is interested in cannot remain silent in the face of the obscurantism of our time.

Where does the narrative thread of this film unfold? From some images, memories and stories I grew up with that insist on being registered in my mind in black and white. Not that I necessarily lived or that are direct experiences, but that are an integral part of my existence. This as the basis on which the fairy tale was built – because it is a fairy tale and not a historical record. A fairy tale that tries to exist within the times it is supposed to take place in. In other words, a fairy tale that describes events, not as they actually happened – that’s the job of the historian – but as they might have happened. That is what the storyteller does.

To what extent are we captive to the choices and sins of our ancestors? The “sins of the parents bring up the children” belongs to a theological deterministic view of the world, which is usually translated as a social taboo. But it is a fact that the actions and choices of our ancestors, not necessarily our direct biological ancestors, create the material and social conditions in which the following generations exist. But treating the social process as the actions and choices of successive generations is also a fictional view of the world in which we live, for it presupposes a compact homogeneous society where one generation succeeds another. Human societies are not like that. They are fragmented in various ways on a cultural, economic, class level. This means that on a personal level some do not have the luxury of “choices”. They do what the need for physical and/or social survival dictates.

Do you think it’s ever too late to make amends? It depends on what kind and how much damage we have done. If our action has determined in an irreversibly negative way the lives of some people, how can we make amends? We will have to learn to live with it and carry the burden in our conscience until the end. The worst thing is that in these cases every attempt to make amends has to do with making ourselves feel better about ourselves, to put our conscience at ease. And as time passes, this personal need becomes more intense. It is, after all, an act that has nothing to do with the “other”, but again with ourselves.

Scene from the movie “Africa Star”.

Are you fascinated by untold stories? Very much. But beyond the “charm”, it is the fact that it is through these untold stories that you realize the pompous lie of the dominant narrative. It is where the official story breaks down. Something like the moment you discover that under a painting there is another painting, which the painter for his own reasons covered up to paint the one you see. The one you see is the painting he made to sell. The one below is the painting he painted for his soul and failed to sell.

The fact that your previous film has been distinguished and recognized is something that gives air to your sails or does it burden you with responsibility? Neither one nor the other. I don’t want to get to the point of making films just to stand out. In this sense, I share Béla Bartók’s saying that “competitions are for horses, not for art”. If by “distinction” we mean audience appeal, then of course I care about the film’s communication, otherwise there would be no reason to make films. The point is that independent cinema can only really reach the public through film festivals, since the road to theatrical distribution is not exactly paved. However, film festivals – badly in my view – have shaped an international competition/competitive environment as dictated by marketing and market conditions. So, in order to reach the audience, you must go through this – believe me – very torturous process of the competition for the creator, and the prizes in turn help to reach a larger audience. It’s a Catch 22 situation. In any case, however helpful such distinctions may be, they should under no circumstances become an end in themselves. Because then you are tempted to make films that will “like” the “system”. So I try to approach each of my new films as a project starting from scratch, without letting the successes or failures of my previous work be a determining factor.

Adonis Floridis at work.

What associations does thinking about the role of cinema in facing the problems of our time evoke for you? I don’t think of cinema as a solid genre. The cinema I’m interested in is the one that honestly explores on the one hand the most sensitive and dark aspects of human existence and on the other hand expresses opinions, ideas, concerns about how relationships between people are or should be at every level: from interpersonal relationships to people’s relationship with power. This cinema cannot remain silent in the face of the obscurantism of our time. When reality itself surpasses art, then as filmmakers we cannot remain “hidden” inside the “cocoon” of artistic creation. Personally, I don’t find it honest. Since I assume that the question also refers to this particular historical moment, I will say that I am very happy that all over the world many, mainly young, filmmakers at every opportunity come out and speak openly about the horror that is happening right now in Gaza and Palestine.

  • INFO The film by Adonis Floridis “Africa Star” is shown in Nicosia (Zina Palas) on Thursday, April 18 at 8pm. and in Limassol (Rialto) at its end Festival on Saturday, April 20 at 8 p.m. cyprusfilmdays.com

Free, 31.3.2024

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