Christine Tsingos, was a poetic unclassifiable creature, whose name became synonymous with the part of Winnie in Beckett’s “Happy Days” and he hailed her as the greatest interpreter of his heroine.
Guy Saunier, Marina Karagatsi, Pantelis Voulgaris, Fiona Shaw, Nikos Stefanou, Christos Tsangas, Kostas Georgousopoulos and Natalia Mela.
Camera - Sound:
Elias Giannakakis - Fanis Karagiorgos
Screenplay & Directed by
Who does remember Christina Tsingos, really?
I would say no more than few people. By all means those, who had the chance to see her brilliant Winnie in Beckett’s “Happy Days”, staged twice, the last time was in 1973, only a few days before her sudden death of asthma.
Surely she is remembered by those lucky enough to have known her, if they are still around.
This is more or less how the idea to make a picture about this long forgotten Beckett’s muse was born.
The idea was a suggestion of Takis Hatzopoulos, who knew her in person and was on friendly terms with her. As soon as he assigned the portrait to me, I completely owned it. Besides, someone had to be really insensitive not to be overwhelmed by Tsingos’s extraordinary personality.
I had heard of her for the first time from Pantelis Voulgaris who was a close friend of hers.
Takis Hatzopoulos, being the producer but also a friend of Tsingos’s gave the green light for a trip to France. A trip, during which I was greatly supported by the company and care of my friend and fine actress Michele Valley.
All in all, the shooting lasted five months. Except for the Paris footage Fanis Karagiorgos shot, I did everything else myself. It was the first time I worked together in the editing with my dear friend Dora Masklavanou, who apart from being a very good filmmaker, screenwriter, singer and production manager, proved to be an excellent film editor. We went on to work as a team on many pictures culminating in “Joy”.
I cannot forget the manner, in which Amalia Moutoussi read those burning with emotion letters of Tsingos’s. A manner that was austere and abstract, underplayed, but to the point and full of substance.
Tsingos had made a name for herself in Paris. She had her own theatre, which she eventually lost to debt in the ‘fever’ of her doomed relationship with painter Thanassis Tsingos.
On stage, next to her, appeared for the first time, future world class stars, such as Jean-Paul Belmondo and Michele Piccoli.
In Paris, I also met the renowned Guy Saunier, who as a young man had discovered her, in the mid 50s, at the time he was seeking contact with prominent Greeks. He fell head over heels in love with her and the two had a relationship that lasted for over a decade, despite their age difference.
Upon their bitter breakup, he remained in Greece for several years, teaching modern Greek literature.
Saunier’s testimony was astonishing as he was clearly still defined by her, 35 years after her death.
The fact alone that Beckett adored her and considered her to be the best performer of his Winnie said a lot.
The portrait on Christina Tsingos is as powerful as she was, and every time it’s shown, it reveals a woman who continues to amaze and mesmerize.