The camera follows Amalia Moutoussi for a full year, from the first staging of Antigone by Lefteris Voyatzis at the Epidaurus Ancient theatre, in the summer of 2006, until the revival of the production one year later at the same location. A truly original portrait of a unique and unsurpassed performer.
Another one of the documentaries I made for “Paraskinio” that means a lot to me, in terms of substance, artistic and intellectual depth, established style, creation process and emotional connection. And most certainly, it defined me immensely.
Much like Aleka Paizi, my relationship with Amalia had a history. She was going to play in my first short fiction film, “Patagonia” (just like Aleka), but even though we had shaken hands on it, Amalia had a last minute change of heart. I was very upset then, but didn’t hold it against her.
Since that time we had kept infrequent contact mostly linked to my going to see her in the theatre.
That way, 8 years went by. I had the utmost respect and admiration for her work, as well as for her personally.
In March 2006 I got a small professional camera and began to operate it myself. I felt free.
The following summer I called Amalia to propose we make a documentary for “Paraskinio”, where I would follow her around for a full year; without any crew; just the two of us; in order for her to feel free as well.
We had a very warm first meeting at the cafe of the Park hotel on Alexandras avenue, where she agreed to my proposal with genuine pleasure.
It was only a few days after the death of my first cat, Polydouris.
That’s when we started building our relationship.
Indeed, I followed Amalia around with my camera throughout the next year. Starting from her Antigone, staged by Lefteris Voyatzis, at Epidaurus. Then, in the fall, at the Amore Theatre, where Yannis Houvardas directed her in a very eccentric role in “Miss Sara Sampson” by Lessing.
And after that, in the spring of 2007, as Klytaemnestra, in Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Elektra, directed by Thomas Moschopoulos, at the Athens concert Hall. And finally, coming full circle, at the revival of Voyatzis’ Antigone at Epidaurus, holding the title role. All year long, between rehearsals, we had endless discussions and personal confessions, which were captured on video.
That made a fascinating mixture of rehearsal footage, dressing room discussions, times of difficulty or anticipation, times of tension or excitement, laid back times of calm, times of joy and satisfaction.
In terms of the volume of the shot footage and the dedication it took from both of us, the process was much like that of a feature fiction film. And that brought us very close.
To this day, Amalia is someone truly valuable in my life and I love her deeply. She is like my kindred spirit.
This picture, just like the portrait of Aleka before it, was made just as I had started using my own camera. It was my...cinéma vérité period.
I lacked basic skills on how to use the camera and I insisted (with few exceptions) on shooting without a tripod. It was a film with poor lighting and some sketchy framing, but with good sound; and many shots in that endless footage were rather nice.
The circumstances compromised the quality of shooting, but that left room for more spontaneous scenes. That kind of spontaneity would have been lost, if special care had been put into technical achievement or if there had been a second camera operator present.
Eventually, I managed to capture many great moments on video. Besides, we possessed the two main ingredients to guarantee a good result in a film like that; mutual trust and a lot of time on our hands.
And that is how a very impressive, authentic and profound portrait emerged. A portrait that focused on Amalia’s work but in reality uncovered her soul.
It was a great experience for me and I have to recognize the contribution of my partner in the editing, Myrto Lekatsa, who dealt with a huge body of substandard material and delivered a fine result.
I will never forget Amalia’s metamorphosis into an entirely expressionistic Klytaemnestra. I will never forget her incomparable Antigone, at the same time a girl and an amazon, a woman warrior..
And I will never forget that long night of Antigone’s dress rehearsal at Epidaurus; the starlit sky, the moments of silence, the feeling of being embraced by a sacred universe and of course Lefteris Voyatzis.
It was one of the most overwhelming nights in my life.