Dimitris Koutsiabasakos: The Grocer

They are bent, they have crooked legs, they live in the Pindos mountains up NorthWest in Greece, far away from everything. Most of these old people have passed their lives here for decades.

And for decades Nikos Anastasiou, his wife Sophia and (for some of the time) their sons Kostas and Thimios have packed their van once per week in Trikala city to bring vegetables to the inhabitants of these mostly abandoned villages. Winter, spring, summer, autumn they come putting on classical Greek folk music on the loudspeakers so the customers have time to reach the road and get their goods. And have a conversation, an argument with others, a laugh or a short dance to the music from the van. 75 km.

Dimitris Koutsiabasakos followed the van through all seasons. With stops at places where they always stop meeting the characters. He catches the situations by fine observation, he sometimes follows the old women (indirectly the film confirms that women live longer than men, the old women are

In absolute majority) to their houses. Once it is sweet Fotoula together with one of the Anastasiou sons, who transport the Kosan gas and installs it in her small kitchen. Winter is hard, there is high snow, many have gone to the cities, few stay, like the man Aristides, with 20 cats, or the man who always talks about the weather: I am a shepherd but also a weatherman, he declares. And a woman who talks about sex all the time. Another woman who has her blood pressure measured by Sophia. The grocer family members put a little extra in the bag and always care about health and children and grandchildren. The surrounding world is only vaguely indicated – a dam project that will threaten the mountain culture, the crisis that means that the retired inhabitants do not get their pension…

It is a film full of life, with some beautiful arranged posing to the camera, a sense of details and camera angles. They are true heroes, they are close to people says a priest, and you can only agree. As most people will agree that this is a very good film.

Greece, 2013, 81 mins.

www.koutsiabasakos.gr

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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