The Way to the West
GREECE / 2003 / Greek, English, Kurdish / Color / 35mm (1:1.66) / 79 min
Director, Script, Producer: Kyriakos Katzourakis
Photography: Alexis Grivas
Editing, Sound Design: Kyriakos Katzourakis, Daphne Tolis
Narrator: Katia Gerou
Production Companies: Greek Film Center, Hellenic Broadcasting CORP: NET, Omada Technis,
World Sales: Greek Film Center
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Irina, from the former Soviet Union, travels to Greece in search of a better life. She wanders the streets of Athens looking for her friend who disappeared there, but becomes entangled in a web of prostitution. Her fictional monologue tells of the tragedies and harsh realities faced by immigrants to Greece from Africa, Asia and elsewhere. A work steeped in sorrow.
[Directors Statement] I comment on I what see, by seeing it . . .
Cinema is visual—it is a field of infinite and unique ways of expression. Nevertheless, the concept of “time” in cinema is a new and determining element. One image intrudes into another like the subconscious intrudes into consciousness. It is a “magic” procedure to let yourself be part of this inner exchange. It is in this sense that I could never simply record reality objectively. The issue of realism in art always remains open to interpretation. In the 1970, we considered our work in painting “critical realism” and now, thirty years after, we detect the subjectivity that determined our work. I do not wish to cross to the path of complete subjectivity and rest behind the secure privilege of personal expression. This is a property that exists anyway. To the contrary the more one feels part of a whole the more one can develop his individual traits.
Terminology in art facilitates reference. The words “documentary” and “fiction” facilitate description but do not necessarily mean what they stand for. One can shoot a documentary in such a subjective way that it becomes fiction and vice versa.
My intention was not simply to record the life of refugees in my country, but to understand, through so many new faces—which constantly change—why things are as they are. To see behind the image of fear depicted on their faces.
In cinema though, as in art in general, it is a uniquely beautiful procedure to succumb to the magic of narration and discover new paths of expression. Your subject has a life and an ending of its own and you are the one who helps it surface.
Born in 1944. Studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts, and engraving and film in London. Also attended courses at the London Film School. Founding member of the art groups New Greek Realists in 1970, EUROPA 24 in 1991 and Omada Technis in 1995. Since 1988 has worked as set designer at the Art Theater of Athens—Karolos Koun. Has worked as set and costume designer for theater and cinema (including works by Teo Angelopoulos). The Way to the West won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.