THE WAY TO THE WEST
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."