Traveling is like wine
you drink and you can't imagine what visions will come to your mind

The old “coolies” leave their carts and ride on bikes owned by Uber-Eats and the gig economy, while prostitutes stand on the same red light districts that once inspired Fritz Lang in “Metropolis”. Super-powers clash for domination in East Asia on the backdrop – then as now – of a pandemic, which in 1957 claimed the life of Nikos Kazantzakis.

Aris Chatzistefanou follows in Kazantzakis’ footsteps on two trips he made to Japan, before and after World War II. The camera “comments” on the image of modern Japan and the whole world, adding snapshots from anime, video games, and japanese manga. 

Γιάννης_Αγγελάκας

Giannis Aggelakas

Naration
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Olia Lazaridou

Narration
But secretly working within me, a hunger, a thirst,
the influence of a barbarous race that had not yet become tired of the world.
My guts were full of blood and mud and craving.

Nikos Kazantzakis

And if Europe and America do not want that? And if it is not to their interest to liberate Asia? Then? War? The girl fell silent. She lifted her head quietly and said: “War.”.

I shuddered.

The whole factory seemed to me to be awash with blood..

Heavy work, that degrades a man – both the one doing the dragging and the one being dragged.

Buddha stands above them; he gazes at his priests and smiles. He knows that everything is an illusion, a mirage of the senses

In a well-lit window display, long like a bier, are pictures of the women of the house 

How many countries have dreamed of democracy, spilling blood with America and not against America?

Poster design: Louiza Karageorgiou 

A documentary about the Kazantzakis of the 1930s is by itself a ticking bomb, which nobody wants to have blow up in his hands. How do you present a man that then declared to be “charmed by the face of Franco” and noted that “Mussolini is perhaps much greater than we have been accustomed to thinking up to now”? Yet the same man who would write that four were the deciding steps in his assent: “Jesus, Buddha, Lenin, Ulysses”. Perhaps the best way is to let him recount his story . To be “exposed” politically, but also to expose his literary genius.

 

This documentary, based on his book “Travels: Japan, China”, is poised on that exact thin line between myth and reporting. For about a year we followed Kazantzakis’ footsteps on his two big trips to Japan, in 1935 and in 1957. We documented the monuments he visited and which have remained unchanged in time and war, but also the cities and neighborhoods that changed impressively. We imagined him heading towards the brothels of Yoshiwara district, sat not on a “ricksha” but an Uber. We saw him predict the shift of the international geopolitical chessboard towards East Asia, but also hush about the rise of fascism soaring in front of his eyes. Abandon Buddhism for Epaphus (god of touch), but never finding materialism.

 

Or, as Varnalis wrote about him: “because even if his work is mostly negative, it has two great virtues, that save it from any ruin: freedom of conscience and prideof freedom” Aris Chatzistefanou 

Άρης Χατζηστεφάνου

Aris-Chatzistefanou_FNH3670_bw

ΑΡΗΣ ΧΑΤΖΗΣΤΕΦΑΝΟΥ

Σκηνοθεσία
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Αρης Τριανταφυλλου

Μοντάζ
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Rsn

Original music
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θανος τσαντας

Post Production
louiza

Λουιζα Καραγεωργιου

Σχεδιασμός Αφίσας