A highly unconventional profile of M. Karagatsis through the eyes of his daughter, Marina.
Screenplay & Directed by
I first met Marina Karagatsis in the fall of 2007. Kostis Skalioras had introduced her to me as a valuable contributor for the portrait on Christine Tsingos.
Marina had given a fine interview for that documentary back then.
2008 was designated ‘Karagatsis year’ and I suggested we made a picture for “Paraskinio” on that occasion. She accepted. The shooting began with her interview, which produced superb material.
The picture was going to be an all round enquiry into the author and his work. I had also shot the conference on Karagatsis, which took place at the Benaki Museum with the participation of many notables and a large audience. It was an impressive event with many fine speakers; authors, professors of literature, scholars, literary critics and literature historians.
As the shooting progressed, I realized that the subject matter was Marina herself, and the family entangled web around her; her, her domineering father and her oppressed mother, the great painter Niki Karagatsi. I figured out that the spirit and the character of Karagatsis would be illustrated much more convincingly through the disentangling of this intricate family web, rather than through a traditional literary portrait. Once I knew that Marina was prepared to be open and go on camera with almost psychoanalytical confessions, I decided to do away with the footage from the conference or with any other interview on Karagatsis, besides Marina’s. She had just finished an autobiographical short story entitled “To Efcharistimeno” (“Pleased”), by means of which she attempted to address her family history. The family house on Andros served as the background for the book.
After I was done in Athens, I continued and finished the shooting on Andros.
This picture on Karagatsis, or better yet, on the Karagatsis family, is without a doubt one of my best works. While a documentary, it feels more like fiction, like a character drama.
Marina was a delightful storyteller. With a high sense of humor and an ability to laugh at herself, she manages to handle her dark and muddled family web most effectively, and sheds light upon her father and mother and upon herself.
I am happy I decided to move away from the conventional documentary form and opted for this choice.
Hopefully, after all the nights I have spent in the Andros house, where Marina put me up, and the times I have slept in Karagatsis' bed, some of his spirit and talent has rubbed off on me...