Magazine article Screen International

Dimitris Bavellas, Runaway Day

Magazine article Screen International

Dimitris Bavellas, Runaway Day

Article excerpt

Greek director Dimitris Bavellas' second film Runaway Day screened in the competition of the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Shot in black-and-white, the film tells the story of one day in which numerous citizens of modern-day Athens starts running away from their homes without explanation, and this phenomenon takes on the dimensions of an epidemic.

Bavellas talks about how he used the financial crisis as a backdrop to the story about personal liberation and the influences he was determined to employ in order to make a counterpoint to the current rise of the far right in Greece.

Although Runaway Day is quite experimental in the formal sense, it's quite a direct comment on the Greek crisis.

I see the film more as a look on the effect that this gradually worsening situation has brought to the moral and the mentality of the New Greeks rather than a direct comment about the crisis. However, the characters are moving and operating in modern Athens which gave us the perfect opportunity to film the city in its full decline and underline it.

People in the film are running away because they are stuck in an unbearable situation. But the two main characters also seem to be running away from their private lives?

The effect this pandemic outburst has to all the people in the film is to basically reveal and bring to the foreground their deeper, unspoken desires and wishes. Maria, the main female character [played by Maria Skoula] wants to get away from the routine of her marriage, at least for a while, exploring life and love from the very beginning.

Loukas, the main male character [Efthymis Papadimitriou], a typical Greek of his age, wants to play as he used to when he was a little child before the heavy financial burden of debts (combined with constant unemployment, a great mixture) struck him.

The same stand for Maria's husband Dimitris [Errikos Litsis], whose life was put aside in order to achieve his controversial "career", building his wealth mostly by cheating and misusing public money. He wants to become an innocent child again, to play football and run in the woods.

All the characters in the film are children trapped in an adult body, completely lost, secluded from their desires and with a series of responsibilities thrown upon them. When this final, uneven financial disaster threatens them, they find only one solution; to run away.

The little girl who appears several times throughout the film in crucial situations for the main characters is a kind of a guardian angel? Or a guide?

The little girl, Eva, is both a guardian angel and a guide. Unlike all the adults in the film, she is the only one who acts in a mature and responsible way. …

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