filmteaching

Information about filmteaching

Published on February 5, 2008

Author: Silvestre

Source: authorstream.com

Content

ILM EACHING: ILM EACHING “Mourning Rock” the film from A to Z Slaskie Zory Thriasio Elefsina Slide 2: The shadows of the living are those of mourning women on their way to the Virgin Mary’s church, on a day of remembrance for those deceased. The procession takes them through the ancient ruins of a one-time cemetery and place of rituals that had to do with death and afterlife. The photograph is worth a thousand words. It unites ancient and modern Elefsina, our town, our people, our lives but also is a sober commentary on human predicament in the industrial era. This is not a dark or morbid film. It is the story of a town and its people during a period of over ten years, seen “through the eyes of a pilgrim”. We, the class of 2006, are intimate with this film. It is part of our growing up. Film reviews The class found that The silhouettes of the living women remind us of the shadows in Hades, the ancient Greeks’ underworld. Everyone is a Passenger in this world. The black and white photograph is in accord with the film’s theme, life and death. And Life again. An ancient stone, like the well in the foreground, is Memory itself. It tells you stories, if you are willing to listen. There she sat, the sad mother in search of her lost daughter Persephone. Even a goddess as Dimitra can feel the pain of loss. Accordingly the christian world built a small church at the same spot for another Mother, the Virgin Mary. This well “quenched the thirst of man and beast”. It is also a tunnel leading to the valley above or below, depending on one’s point of view. “Where and how one sets the camera is a moral issue. Every angle in filming becomes an ethical choice.” Ph.Koutsaftis, the director Slide 3: eschylos, the Elefsinian-born ancient dramatist. We watch his statue on the move and finally placed at the town’s entrance. He wrote “Seven against Thebes”. It is assumed that the seven ancient graves in Elefsis belonged to those kings. gelastos Petra=mourning stone, the well in Elefsis where goddess Dimitra sat disguised as an elderly woman in mourning for the loss of her daughter. spropyrgos=the neighboring town, also in the industrial area. It owns his name to a Hellenistic white tower, the ruins of which are shown in the film. ttici, the name for our region goes back 2500 years phrodite, goddess of love and beauty. The cubbyholes in the rock held peoples’ dedications to the divine through the ages. They still do! drian, the roman emperor-benefactor, who had the aqueduct built. rcheologos=archaeologist. For the last 20 years, Mrs Papaggelli, seen in the film, is responsible for the site and the museum of Elefsis. naskafi=excavation. Perceived from above it is “an open wound on the body of the earth”. krokeramo=ornamental tile Photo taken from www.elefsina.gr “I never asked the workers in the excavations to repeat a gesture for the film’s sake. The hand that removes an ancient vase from its earthly nest brings a cosmic circle to a close, so to speak. Its beginning was made 2.500 ago from the person that placed it there.” Ph. Koutsaftis, the director Slide 4: yzantino=anything to do with the Byzantine era, during which Elefsis was abandonned (4th century –15th century), mainly for fear of pirates. Slide 5: hanges are inherent in anything human. So are they in the documentation of a town’s existence. Photo taken by the poet Andreas Embirikos in 1955 Slide 6: imitra, goddess of the Earth. She came to Elefsis in quest of her daughter, Persephone, abducted by Hades, god of the underworld. Pleased with her mortal hosts, she taught them the cultivation of barley and the Elefsinian rituals. rama=ancient theatrical play, divided in tragedy, comedy and saryrical drama iamartiria=protest. Elefsinians are deeply involved in the town’s predicament. In their anxiety about the future they often protest against the local industries. imoskopisi=poll. In the film the people of Elefsina voted against industry expansion,in what proved to be a futile attempt to stop pollution. Slide 7: lefsis. Our town’s ancient name meaning “Arrival” cclissaki=small church. You can see that of St Zachariah with the antiquities integrated in the Christian structure, Panagia Messosporitissa, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, built inside the archeological area, St Nicholas on the beach, associated with miraculous events, and St.George, Elefsina’s patron saint. rgostasio=factory. Cement and steel, are produced here and petrol is refined. rgatis=industrial worker. Hard working conditions of the past are recalled by pensioners in the film. Slide 8: ylakas=keeper. They know a lot about the historic sites they keep, which to them is a second home. ovos tou thanatou=fear of death. The Elefsinian rituals eradicated it from human hearts. otia=fire. The film starts with the the flame burning from the industrial chimney, a sad parallel to Persephone’s torch. Its double nature is seen in the industrial accident of 1992 and in fire-jumping in the streets. iloksenia= hospitality. A neat table with a few humble Greek dishes and a glass of water along with a warm welcome within short notice is what we call hospitality. Slide 9: alatas=milkman. His profession’s extinction, documented on film, signals the end of an era in the town’s history. There is something sacred about our ground. Ancient relics are preserved through the centuries, waiting to be discovered by modern Man. Does this happen elsewhere, I wonder? Corina Slide 10: istory is everywhere you tread on in Elefsis ierophant= the priest in charge of the Elefsinian rituals. He showed the initiated terrible sights but comforted their hearts about life after death. asan=the Greek Muslim from northern Greece is among the workers in Iera Odos. Slide 11: era odos=the sacred way the initiated took from Athens to Elefsina. It covered a distance of approximately 22 kms. Part of it was revealed within the decade the film was made. van= one of the refugee workers at Iera Odos. His name is the Russian equivalent to John. (see “J”) conostasi=small structures resembling churches, usually seen at the edges of the streets where fatal traffic accidents occurred. Eleni is seen in the film lighting their candles in an ageless Greek memorial custom. Slide 12: iannis o Rossos= St.John the Russian. The 18 year-old-youth canonized in the 20th century lived in 18th century Turkish-occupied Russia. He is still much revered in Greece, as shown in the film. Slide 13: ronos= in mythology he was a titan, in Elefsis it was the name of a factory, now used for cultural events. terismata=burial gifts. Among them an ancient mirror speak of mundane beauty. afenio=coffee shop, with a traditionally male clientele, a meeting place where political and social issues are discussed over a small cup of Greek coffee. atastrofi=destruction. The word used for the 1922 tragedy in Asia Minor. Following the defeat of the Greek army by the Turks, one and a half million refugees sought sanctuary in Greece. Most of the elderlies seen reminiscing in the film are refugees. ore= the small statue of the young woman running away during Persephone’s abduction is back home after traveling to the USA “She must have been a woman on her bloom” Corina, who was the one to note the specific scene. Slide 14: imani=port. Along with the neighboring shipyard it is one of the town’s landmarks eoforio=bus. The word means “that which transports the people”. Since the first shootings of the film transportation has dramatically improved. ofos=hill. The rituals’ hill was brought down by the cement industry, and its French tower broken to pieces so that it could be rebuilt elsewhere. Iksiarheio= registry office. Even a dull bureaucratic process acquires poetic value through Ph. Koutsaftis’ camera. Slide 15: ystes=the initiated in the Elefsinian rituals. The word has to do with “myo”=I half-close my eyes, and “mystico”=secret ysteria=rituals. Those initiated swore not to reveal their secrets. Thus, little is known about them to this day. armaro= marble, the stuff ancient monuments are made of. Slide 16: ecrotafio=cemetary. Many modern houses are built on ancient graves. omisma=coin. When found in a tomb, it signifies the fare of the “boatman” that takes souls to the other side of existence. A custom surviving up to this day. Slide 17: noma=names mentioned in the film Ancient:, Hermeia, Nikostrati,, Ameinoklia, Evnapia, Kreokratia, Isithoti, Eleni, Antiphon, Ninion, Kallias Christian:Martha, Polytimi, Rozalia, Maria, Despina, Spyridoula, Argyro, Hariklia, Soultana, Chryssa, Alexandra, Popy, Koula Kostas, Michalis, Dimitris, Petros, Aggelos, Giorgos, Panagiotis, Nikos, Stelios, Vassilis, Stratos, Vaggelis Foreign: Hasan, Ivan Our names: Maria, Antonia, Corina, Cornelia, Christina, Eleni, Fotini, Katerina, Anna, Aggeliki Kostas, Alexis, Christos, Giorgos, Thomas, Thothoris, Nikos, Giannis The highlighted names are of Hebrew or Latin origin Slide 18: ersephone, goddess of the Underworld, associated with the four seasons. ascha= Easter, Passover, the Christian answer to antiquity’s regeneration myths. appous=grandfather. Elderly [people are kept and looked after in many Greek households. rosphyges=refugees. Elefsina was a second home to the Greek people chased away from Asia Minor by the Turks in 1922 anagiotis Farmakis=the homeless man with a passion for antiquity. Remembered by our class even if long departed. He lived “above the earth and below the stars” and the coat covering his head may have ranked him with the town’s fools to the common mind, but to the maker of the film it “hid the halo” (see “S”) luto or Hades, god of the “valley below” etrola, the name of the refinery in Elefsina apagiannis street, named after a good doctor who benefited the town ombi=procession, another word related with the Elefsinian rituals siphos=vote. Greece’s gift to civilization is democracy, the Olympic games, ancient drama and philosophy. ireaus, the port of Athens not far from Elefsina. lastiras, Greek army officer during the 1922 defeat by the Turks. His was the only regiment to return in order from the Turkish front. A favorite with the refugees he later got involved in politics. After his funeral, he is brought back to life by the force of filmography. I profited from the film, because I got to learn more about Persephone’s myth. Christina, who joined the school in 2005 Slide 19: uotes from the film: The only thing of value is memory. Elefsis always has something of its mystery to reveal to those who revisit it (Seneca, roman philosopher, 1st century) Death: to join the ranks of the immortals. Death is not a bad thing but a good thing for mortals (inscription on Glafkos’ monument) “Where do you live?” “Above the earth and beneath the stars” P.Farmakis, homeless EKAS I VEVILI= Ye who are profane, leave! (ancient inscription on the temple) Let me be unworthy if ever I forget you, beloved Smyrna(David’s psalm paraphrased by papa-Kostas, the refugee priest) Who is man? What is man? The shadow of a dream. (Pindar, ancient poet born 522/518 b.C.) What grieves me bitterly, son, is that, however much we Greeks have suffered, we were never able to be united.Everything we’ve suffered has gone down the drain. (Hariclia, the elderly refugee from Smyrna) Slide 20: odi= pomegranate. Persephone was made to eat its seeds in order not to forget herself while visiting her mother and to return to the valley below. It is still a custom to put pomegranate seeds in memorial offerings containing boiled wheat. Both are fruit of the earth, protected by the goddess Dimitra. oman baths were also discovered in our town. Slide 21: alamina=the island seen from our beach. Famous for a victorious sea battle against the Persian forces (5th century b.C.) alos=name given to divine fools. They lived during the Byzantine era and were canonized having shown signs of sainthood, despite their unconventional behavior. A modern representative could be Panagiotis Farmakis. arcofagus= ancient marble tomb with decorations not intended for burial keletos=skeleton. Among those seen in the film, is the “twin” burial of the Elefsinian horsemen who died in the battlefield in Lefktra (371 b.C) kia= shadow. The class toyed with the word in its fearlessness of death, typical of their youth. "Ye who read are still among the living, but I who write shall have long since gone my way into the region of shadows. For indeed strange things shall happen, and many secret things be known, and many centuries shall pass away, ere these memorials be seen of men. And, when seen, there will be some to disbelieve, and some to doubt, and yet a few who will find much to ponder upon in the characters here graven with a stylus of iron." — from Edgar Allan Poe's "Shadow — a Parable" (1835). Slide 22: itan=cement factory constructed in 1902 in Elefsina, also a gigantic mythological figure hriasio=the valley containing Elefsina and its neighboring towns, Aspropyrgos, Mandra, Magoula. A welcome site for a military airport. ragodia=tragedy, the religious drama dedicated to the god Dionysos. heodoros Tsigos=mayor of Elefsina, businessman and father of the painter Thanos Tsigos. He allowed the refugees to settle in our town (mentioned as the man with the lantern) in 1922. opio= landscape. Alterations brought on by force of Man and not Nature, are visible in the decade during which the film was made. afi=burial. In the film ancient burials in a vase, in a rectangular tomb and in a sarcophagos (see “S”) are seen. They should not be viewed as morbid sights rather than sleeping places. hanatos=death of people, of ships, of buildings is just a means to reveal another existence (see “Z”). halassa= the Sea. A beautiful prehellenic word for an element of Nature that is closely associated with Greek history. Slide 23: nplace,that is what the fever of industrialism has made of the one-time sacred city of Elefsis nderword, Hades, Hell or is it just a resting place for all nature’s dormant rejuvenating forces? The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn/ no traveller returns… Hamlet, III, I Slide 24: iolation of the landscape will undoubtedly lead to a violated soul. This film is a warning sign to those who can heed. Slide 25: ill there ever come a time When the Great Bear’s and the Gypsy’s soul And my “initiated” own, Will join in celebration? ………………… “There will”… Aggelos Sikelianos, IERA ODOS Slide 26: enos= stranger “Give me the stranger” a phrase in a Good Friday hymn, about Christ handed over to Pilot. Slide 27: mnos=hymn. Orthodox hymnography is at its best during the holy week preceeding Easter, when Christ is lamented by Mary as Her Sweet Spring and the churche’ s gates are bid to open and let the priest come in, just as Christ entered the Underworld. “Arate pylas”= Open the gates! E WHO ARE PROFANE, LEAVE! (The ancient warning to the uninitiated) Slide 28: oi=LIFE We, who are about to graduate, salute you. 1st Lyceum of Elefsina, undergraduates, class 1 April 2006 Slide 29: “Mourning Stone” is an austere film with an impeccable sense of metre. The materials used during the shooting result in an outcome that defies stereotypically “beautiful” pictures and evokes poetry. Most probably, the fact that we, mortals, often avoid bending over the fundamental questions of our existence, preferring to be absorbed in less important things, is a way of defence that ensures our mental balance. Most of the films that appear on screen try to abstract our minds from most crucial issues. "Mourning Stone", on the contrary, is a beneficial breath of self-knowledge in a long and, sometimes, incredibly tedious marathon. Giorgos Panayiotakis “It appears that in the film the viewer recognizes the daily distress within each one of us, a distress about the place, a distress about things, about time. Seeing it in the film, each one feels that a breeding ground of resistance against uniformity does really exist. One is comforted in this thought and can identify”. "The concept of the environment cannot be separated from memory. It regards being conscious of life itself, of the quality of life, it is a piece of oneself. Otherwise, you become poorer. He who does not have an essential relationship with nature and history is an invalid". F. Koutsaftis’ interview to Giorgos Elafros Whyever did Koutsaftis himself succeed in creating with so poor materials such a film of beauty, love, tenderness and compassion? Because, simply enough, "beauty will save the world" and "Mourning Rock" is a beautiful film having as protagonists our beautiful stones, our beautiful traditions, the beautiful people who live here and love our small town. The question how “death is trodden by Death”is answered by Koutsaftis' protagonists. Eternal be their memory. Vasos Ftohopoylos “The bottom line is you didn’t fear to exhibit your most personal feelings. We can watch you, hear you, feel your breath and anxiety.” Vena Georgakopoulou Winner of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture National Cinema Award for Best Documentary Winner of the audience award Winner of the Union of Greek Film Critics Award Winner of the CINEMA magazine Award If Rubliov’s Holy Trinity is of any significance to the orthodox flock , if Halepas is the most vigorous voice in contemporary sculpture and Papadiamandis voices the unutterable wisdom of our race , this film is the foundation stone of Greek cinematography, precisely because it doesn’t pretend to it.Don’t miss it. It will be as if you have never got to really know your own brother. Eleni Stavropoulou

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