Marianna Economou: Twelve Neighbours

A street is Athens is the stage for this warm and very well made documentary. The director has come there for years, and again this confirms the simple sentence: Time is quality. If you are a good filmmaker, know your skills and has an eye for people and situations. Marianna Economou has.

A young Iraqi immigrant talks about an old woman on the other side of the street. She is afraid to go out and she only leaves when she can see him. ”I love her. Like my Mum”. In a cellar a Pakistani immigrant has made the room his home, the tv set plays his local music movies as he talks to wife and child at home. An old woman distributes funeral wheat to the people of the street – this is what is being done on ”All Soul’s Day”. The montage is like that, the director builds up the viewer’s relationship with the characters, who live and/or work there. The baker, the old man at the window, who sings for us at the end of the film, the sisters at the flowerish courtyard, it is all very stimulating to meet these ordinary, fine people. Also those who can not sustain their small businesses and have to give up. It is Life with tears and laughter. The director also visits a quite extraordinary clone of Anita Ekberg, who listens to opera and as a real drama queen imagines herself on the stage. 

The key person, however, is the café owner and host of the Alekton theatre. A creative place with poem readings, music and theatre. Costa is his name, known by them all, initiator of activities, and a man who talks to the camera about respecting ”the other”. A message film? Yes, a very nuanced and mature hommage to everyday life as it is being lived all over the world in small streets all over the world.

Greece, 52 mins., 2009

Director cv and stills from the film:

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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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