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BERLINALE 2011 Panorama Special / Greece

Man at Sea imprisons immigration drama

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Man at Sea imprisons immigration drama

After a five-year absence from the big screen, acclaimed director Konstantinos Giannaris returns with the Panorama Special presentation Man at Sea.

Starring Antonis Karistinos, the film follows a captain’s struggles to save a band of illegal Middle Eastern immigrants he salvages off a stranded raft. Focusing on his efforts to help them enter the EU contrary to his shipping company’s orders, Man at Sea marks a return to the Berlinale for the multi-awarded Giannaris, whose Hostage [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
played in Panorama in 2005, while One Day in August [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
featured in the main competition in 2001.

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“I wanted to make a film that comes from the viewpoint of a working-class European, rather than that of the immigrants”, Giannaris tells Cineuropa, explaining that he was interested in exploring “the stages of racism, to see how that man would react when he had to handle a situation of life and death.”

Being a hero is as easy as becoming a villain in Giannaris’ film, where the former castaways soon start to demand they set foot on European soil. “I’m not playing along with this liberal political correctness of victims and victimizers, the immigrants are dynamic elements of their tragedy and have life dreams of their own, as well as the right to pursuit them,” says Giannaris.

Reminiscent of recent developments in Greece, where a group of immigrants overtook a public building demanding legitimization, a mutiny pushes captain and crew over the edge, giving Giannaris a handle on the films main predicament. “I need to ask the viewer how he feels about it,” he explains.

“In the beginning they’re right to salvage them, but what happens when you can’t get them off the ship, how do you feel when they’re next to you, upstairs from your apartment, or right next door? And when there’s thirty of them? That’s what brings out our innermost aspects of xenophobia, and that’s what I wanted to tap into,” he concludes.

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