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The Way to the West

U.S. Premiere

78 MINUTES | Greek, English, Turkish |


For thousands of people fleeing poverty or war or simply seeking a better life, Western Europe has become a destination of choice. In this ambitious and unconventional work, a veteran painter takes elements of documentary film, such as interviews and news footage, and combines them with his own paintings in a lyrical, compassionate way. Utilizing the device of a narrator, who becomes an on-screen character (played by Katia Gerou, an accomplished stage actress who is also the filmmaker's real-life wife) Kyriakos Katzourakis portrays segments of the lives of refugees, who include Africans, Kurds, and Asians. The tragic protagonist, Irina, comes to Greece from the former Soviet Union but soon sees her dream turn into a nightmare as she falls victim to the widespread trafficking in sex. Like a wandering soul, she walks the darkened streets of Athens, looking for a friend who has disappeared. It is through this character and her story that viewers are connected to other refugees living underground in fear and anxiety. As the director notes, "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."


Directed by Kyriakos Katzourakis

Born in Athens in 1944, Kyriakos Katzourakis studied painting and theater design at the Athens School of Fine Arts before training as an engraver at the St. Martins School of Art in London, where he also attended courses on cinema. He lived in England from 1972 to 1985, where with Eduardo Paolozzi's help he mounted a one-man exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery; his work has also been widely shown in Greece and abroad (including Sao Paulo and Paris). In cinema, Katzourakis designed the sets for The Engagement of Anna (d. Pantelis Voulgaris, 1972), and created the costumes for Days of '36 (d. Theo Angelopoulous 1972). Since 1988, Katzourakis has collaborated with the Art Theater in Athens on many plays by G. Lazanis, with the Octana dance group, and with the art group "Omada Technis" since 1991 on the relationship of drawing with theater, music, photography, and cinema. The Way to the West marks his directorial debut.