Under These Words (Solidarity Athens 2016)

Three actors go on a journey through Athens. They seek to listen to fellow-citizens engaged in different organisations of the grassroots solidarity movement: a clinic, a pharmacy, a kitchen, a school. In the course of many conversations, the social imaginary of the citizens unfolds as a living continuity.

“I went to Athens with the idea of staging the story of Oresteia – the part in which Furies become the guardians of a newly established justice – with theater actors and citizens involved in the solidarity movement. I wanted to provide an imaginary of how the many local grassroots organisations – clinics, pharmacies, kitchens, food redistribution centres, schools, a.o. – that emerged after the disassembly of the occupations of the squares in 2011, have been creating concrete material capabilities enabling self-governance, and doing so, providing sustainable infrastructures for a transformative justice. In the encounter with the Athinians, the idea of superposing an allegorical fiction of the ancient Greek tragedy upon the social present of Athens 2016 crumbled. The actors fell silent and withdrew into the role of listeners to the practical consciousness of the citizens, or what is being lived through organizing a society parallel to the Greek state. The encounter became the film’s leitmotiv, and the social movement’s adage ‘close to each other’ – the original Greek expression for what is translated to English as ‘solidarity’ – turned into an incentive for our hands-on heuristic method during the film process, both practical and political. While a representative portrait of a social movement seemed inadequate, something else entered into focus, a particular quality of social experience and relationships that couldn’t be described in formal concepts of worldview and ideology. Perhaps the closest term for this is Raymond Williams’ ‘structures of feeling’: a kind of feeling and thinking that is social and material, thoughts as felt and feelings as thought from the known complexities and uncertainties, forms of confusion and unease. What I originally hoped to learn from staging Oresteia - the idea of socially lived (in)justice - returned from the solidarity movement as a ‘structure of feeling’.” (Robin Vanbesien)

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HD, colour, 4:3, Dolby 5.1/stereo, English & Greek spoken, English subtitled, BE, 2017, 52’

A film by Robin Vanbesien
With Evi Saoulidou, Christos Passalis, Bryana Fritz
And with (in order of appearance) Panagiotis Economides, Christos Sideris, Christina Papadopoulos, Christos Giovanopoulos, Georgia Bekridaki, Christos Korolis, Kaiti Mendoni, Konstantinos Theofilopoulos, Katharina Papagika, Martha Frangiadaki, Petros Boteas, Dina Papadimitriou, Pinelopi Barberi, Aleka Papavassiliou, Dora Ziaka, Tasos Kanoulas, Alexia Papa, Kostas Tromaridis, Pavlos Meogiatzis, Alexandros Lykos, Chris Maurantzas, Stella Andriana, Kostas Karras, Eleni Sotiropoulou, Kostas Brillakis, Irene Papageorgiou, Katy Davakou, Themistoklis Kolivas
Director of photography Hans Bruch Jr. 2nd camera Yannis Drakoulidis
Sound Laszlo Umbreit
Editing Robin Vanbesien
Sound editing Iannis Heaulme Sound mixing Rémi Gerard at Empire Digital
Music Choir Polyphonic Kafeneio
Colour correction Florian Keirse
Translation Aimilena Vourliotaki
Title design Goda Budvytyte

Production Timely
Co-production Beursschouwburg
Supported by Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds (VAF), Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie (VGC), WIELS, Sarma, workspacebrussels, STUK