Marco Gastine: Demokratia, The Way of the Cross

It is quite an achievement, this film by Marco Gastine, French-Greek filmmaker, based in Greece, a film about the campaign that led up to May 2012 parliamentary elections in the country with a crisis everyone still talks and writes about. Gastine has chosen the observational camera style to follow 4 candidates from the parties PASOK, SYRIZA, NEW DEMOCRACY and GOLDEN DAWN, and he does it a way that information is conveyed competently about what the candidates and the parties stand for, how much they invest in the campaigns (in the film PASOK and NEW DEMOCRACY lead strongly in this respect), and first of all what the main issues were/are.

For a foreigner with reasonable knowledge about Greece, having travelled there many times in the last years, the content is easy to follow and very interesting as Gastine has succeeded to get backstage. There are scenes that give you goose pimples when you attend meetings of the (is fascist the right word?) Golden Dawn party (”Blood, Honour, Golden Dawn”, ”Greece belongs to the Greeks”), whereas a meeting with the PASOK candidate in a private house sitting room reflects more civilised and sensible discussion about ”why did we end up in this situation?”. Also a scene with the NEW DEMOCRACY candidate and a man, who presents his wish to be his personal body guard after the election (he does get in), illustrates tragic-comical how desperate the situation for people must be in Greece now.

Two of the candidates get elected – the ones from the extreme left SYRIZA and extreme right GOLDEN DAWN. We follow the sympathetic woman from SYRIZA climbing the stairs to the Parliament for the inauguration with her old mother, a sweet scene, an example of the film’s quality that it has caught the human side of a process that led to nothing, as a new election was called for to be held in June. This is the first professional documentary about a Greece in crisis, I have seen, well done.

Greece, 95 mins., 2012   

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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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