‘My movie would no longer exist if the patriarchy didn’t exist’: the director taking at the Greek status quo | Films

In 2012, Jacqueline Lentzou picked up the telephone to her cousin in Athens, Greece. She recalls the date precisely: 19 June. Lentzou was once 20 and learning to be a director on the London Movie College. “My cousin instructed me: ‘Your father’s within the clinic. He doesn’t discuss, he doesn’t stroll. You must come again.’” He was once identified with more than one sclerosis.

For the following 18 months, she become her father’s carer. On the time, it felt as though her directing occupation was once completed ahead of it correctly were given began: “The one factor that stored me from no longer believing that the whole lot was once over was once the truth that I’d make a movie about it. I’ve recognized since 2012 that this may be my first function. I needed to do it to transport on in my existence.”

A decade later, that function has been made. It is named Moon, 66 Questions and it’s as fierce, intense and considerate as Lentzou, talking over a video name from her house in Athens. For the reason that movie premiered at Berlin ultimate 12 months, she has no longer talked publicly about its autobiographical beginnings – till now. She apprehensive that her existence tale can be a distraction. “I’m no longer hiding it, however on the identical time I’m no longer too open. Best as a result of I’d by no means, ever need the true match of the movie” – she places “actual match” in invisible inverted commas – “to take the eye clear of the true movie.” But even so, she provides: “The actual tale is far harder.”

Moon, 66 Questions is squarely within the arthouse custom, unconventional and defiantly unsentimental (even though it is rather emotional on the finish). Sofia Kokkali performs Artemis, who flies house to Athens after her father is hospitalised. As the one kid of divorced folks, her prolonged circle of relatives – wealthy, conservative, churchgoing – be expecting her to maintain her father, even supposing she has slightly spoken to him in years. Artemis spends many of the movie seething with resentment and anger.

Is gender an element? In her personal existence, would Lentzou were requested to drop the whole lot if she were a son? She shakes her head. “No,” she solutions with a skinny, ironic smile. “If I used to be a boy, they’d name me simply to head pay a talk over with after which they’d ship me to paintings.”

Lentzou sought after to turn what it’s love to are living in male-dominated Greece; the expectancies placed on ladies and “poisonous” homophobia. Her script includes a homosexual personality who has lived for a few years within the closet. “My movie is deeply and above all about patriarchy, and this suppression that folks have to head via and deny their very own souls. That is the center of the movie. It could no longer exist if patriarchy didn’t exist.”

She is speaking per week after the high-profile conviction of 2 males for killing Zak Kostopoulos, a 33-year-old LGBTQ+ activist in Athens. Witnesses described the assault as corresponding to a lynching. 4 cops, additionally accused of inflicting deadly physically hurt, walked loose. Lentzou appears to be like livid; for the primary time, she is misplaced for phrases. “They kicked him to dying in downtown Athens at 4 o’clock within the afternoon. I’ve goosebumps telling you this tale. Believe, that is in Athens, the capital. I don’t wish to know what’s going down within the different smaller towns of Greece.”

Within the movie, she doesn’t pull any punches together with her fair portrayal of an grownup kid taking care of a father or mother. The digital camera helps to keep rolling throughout the bits {that a} Hollywood film would chop clear of: Artemis’s excruciating embarrassment at seeing her father within the tub for the primary time, or converting his incontinence pants.

What occurs whilst you deal with a in poor health father or mother is that you simply switch between carer and daughter, says Lentzou. “It’s a double-agent function. Artemis may no longer take him to the bathroom believing that she’s the daughter. She’s no longer the daughter then, she’s simply there to lend a hand him. Then she is going again to the daughter function. I feel it’s unimaginable to switch your father’s diapers realizing that he’s your father.” It’s all just a little a lot for some. “There are people who find themselves stunned, evidently, as a result of they believe that the movie could be very harsh, that’s it’s very in-your-face.”

Artemis in Moon, 66 Questions
‘Artemis spends many of the movie seething with resentment and anger.’ Sofia Kokkali performs Artemis in Moon, 66 Questions. {Photograph}: Moon, 66 Questions movie nonetheless

Lentzou doesn’t spoonfeed her target market, both. We by no means to find out anything else about Artemis – the place she lives, what she does for a task. However in Kokkali’s good efficiency, within the little glimpses she provides of Artemis’s kooky coolness, playfulness and trace of a buzzing interior existence, we get an image of who she is. This withholding has brought about some headscratching in Greece, says Lentzou: “Some persons are bored, which I utterly perceive. It was once one in every of my greatest dangers, to make a doubtlessly hard-to-watch movie. However, as a viewer, I love to look at one thing that demanding situations me.”

At this level, our interview is interrupted by means of her canine barking from the hallway. “She by no means barks,” says Lentzou wandering over to the door to let in a shaggy ball of fur who bounds directly to her lap. “Our interview has transform too private now,” she giggles.

Lentzou grew up together with her mum, her grandmother and canine. As a kid, she dreamed of changing into a author. “I used to be by myself more often than not, gazing movies and tv 24/7. They had been my easiest buddies, however I by no means idea I may make movie.” Then, at 14, she had an epiphany whilst gazing Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, a couple of highschool taking pictures, on TV. “I used to be stunned. It was once my first arthouse movie. Till then, I used to be gazing most effective mainstream stuff: Scorsese, you realize, extra amusing stuff. Once I watched Elephant, I used to be drawn in frame and soul to the silence of the movie. I may no longer consider my eyes. And I knew: that is my task.”

Lentzou has a tattoo, two phrases inked at the within her forearm: “Ext Evening” – screenwriting jargon for external night time. She laughs once I level it out: “You already know what’s humorous? I had it carried out without spending a dime when I used to be 16, when film-making was once a dream. Then it came about, and this” – she issues to the tattoo – “is the cheesiest worst.”

Watch the trailer for Moon, 66 Questions.

After taking a look after her father for a 12 months and a part, Lentzou stayed in Greece when skilled care staff took over. She felt she couldn’t go away. “I needed to be round; I may no longer disappear. I needed to cross to show them the way to be there with him.” Progressively, she began directing a string of award-winning brief movies crewed by means of buddies. Having a look again, being pressured to paintings in Greece may were a blessing: “Issues had been quicker. I used to be taking pictures in my space with my other folks, on a low funds. I don’t suppose I may have carried out that anyplace else.”

She took her time to make Moon, 66 Questions, writing the script through the years in between the shorts. “I wished, to begin with, to practise and make my movie language as absolute best as imaginable. As a result of this movie may have been an overly easy-peasy, tacky, melodramatic movie.”

All the way through the edit, other folks nagged her so as to add a willpower to her father, who continues to be alive. Or open with the caption: “In keeping with a real tale.” Lentzou rolls her eyes and waves the speculation away. “I’m like: no! I would like somebody to be drawn into the movie for the movie itself!”

Now, after all, she is pondering of transferring again to London, or possibly New York: “Someplace the place I will be able to do my task as I deserve to do my task.”

Moon, 66 Questions is in UK cinemas from 24 June

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