“Motorway 65” , a short film by Evi Kalogiropoulou, funded by Eleusis 2021-European Capital of Culture, is officially selected in competition of Cannes Film Festival among 10 other short films from all over the world. The title of the film has been inspired by a bridge, named motorway 65, in the adjacent industrial area of Eleusis-Aspropyrgos and describes the relationship between two siblings who live in the area which has many diverse demographics. The two areas separated by the bridge, coexist in tension because of a conflict rooted on the cultural differences between the two communities: on one side, immigrants from Ponto and on the other, immigrants from varying backgrounds. This geographic and social division reflected on the aesthetics and culture of the area, perplexes the two siblings’ relationship, too.
The director was hosted in Eleusis by Initiator international hosting programme of rising artists, organized by Eleusis 2021 in autumn of 2018. Six visual artists from France, Germany, Greece and Kosovo have taken part in the programme, living in Eleusis for 1 month and experimenting on visual facilities. In the meantime, Evi was acquainted with communities of residents and athletes living in Eleusis and she collaborated with them to make ‘Motorway 65” short film. The artist, not only did she exploit the characteristic industrial set of the area but also her relationship with the athletes of the “Eleusis’ War Arts Sports Club. In this way, she reached the goal of the Initiator project which was to nurture modern art by helping rising artists and producing artistic works, inspired by the city and its people.
Two siblings, Sima and Isaac, live and work in a Greek industrial town neighbourhood mostly inhabited by Black-Sea Greek immigrants, which stands opposite an area inhabited by immigrants of varied backgrounds. The two communities never cross over to the other side – only Sima who prefers to hang out with people from the opposite side of the bridge, including her best friend, Ksenia – the only thing they have in common is the bridge Motorway 65 that runs between them. Social, racial and gender divisions give rise to hostility and distrust, reflected in the booming local sports scene and the siblings’ antagonistic relationship.
A note by the director
The idea about the film has come up to me when I visited a local ammunition factory, closed 3 years ago in the Greek industrial area of Aspropyrgos. In the room where employees used to gather, there were graffities showing women striving for their labour rights in he 90s. During my visit, the security manager of the factory, had described the procedure of the production of a specific ammunition ingredient in a great many details, special terminology and technical terms.
The stories I had heard about the constant conflict among various local groups , completed my experience with this very special place and drove me to make up a story talking about these evidence.
Visually, the most difficult but important part was to depict the special industrial setting of Aspropyrgos, a place characterized by intense scent of patriarchy as dictated by the industry itself. I was interested in conceiving the female element within such a hard industrious environment, that is the difficulties facing a woman when living and working there, along with the power and the feeling of a female strengthening by living in so hard conditions. It all started with the stories of women who were working in industries such as the ammunition factory, where unfortunately, many accidents had occurred to them. They were the ones who provided the leading actress, Sima, with information.
At the same time, I collected stories and evidence concerning the hostility between communities from varying backgounds, who have coexisted in the area for years: on one side of the motorway, immigrants from Ponto and on the other, immigrants from varying backgrounds, such as Balkans, Africans, Asians.
This tension , which is an extremely important element of the film, is coming back through the intense presence of war arts in the area. Kick boxing and wrestling play a major role in residents’ lives, as there are not many places where they can meet each other, have fun and socialize.
In the frame of this rich mosaic of people and experiences, remaining original is of major importance. Besides these three main professional actors, the rest of the crew are common people who play themselves and all athletes playing in the film are real athletes coming from local clubs for whom sports are very important- less as a means of distraction and more as a way of getting out of this inhuman scenery and as a hope for a better life.
Fatality, gender along with racist violence play a leading role, as the body emerges as a symbol of strengthening and the most direct means of self protection especially concerning outcasts. It also functions as a weapon against capitalism and violent manifestations.
Full Cast & Crew
Elli Triggou, Argyris Pantazaras, Ksenia Dania, Sthathis Papadopoulos, Osman Mohamed, Andrid and Adrian Souli, Petros Manouilidis, Thodoris Levantis, Leda Dalla, Kostas Tsioukas, Vaggelis Lingos and Negros tou Moria
Chapter 2 Damianos Aronidis
Film Editing by
Sound by: Yiannis Antypas
Sound design by: Mohammed Rowe
Sound mix by: Kostas Fylaktides
Colourist Dimitris Karteris
Kevin Zans Ansong, Masla G, Giorgos Kioses Tasopoulos
Stage designer-Costumer: Marli Aliferi
Make up: Ioanna Lygizou
Line producer: Romanos Argyropoulos-Ioannou
Assistant director: Andreas Papanikolas
A coproduction of Eleusis 2021 European Capital of Culture, Marni Films, Greek Film Centre
Supported by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.