In the experimental cinema in 1996, Vassilis Mazomenos’ The triumph of Time should be mentioned for its ingenious use of computer animation to explore the intellectual trajectory of Don Quixote through the eyes of Charlie Chaplin in what the critic Babis Aktsoglou called “a filmic opera.” Mazomenos (b. 1964) had appeared with his first experimental film in 1995 with Days of Rage—A Requiem for Europe , an eschatological visual exploration of the last days of Europe, based on the classical myth of Deadalus and the science-fiction idea of establishing a Utopian society through coercion and torture. Vassilis Mazomenos released his mesmerising and terrifying apocalyptic phantasmagoria Money—A mythology of Darkness in 1998. A visual essay on the impact of money on humanity, it is a film that deserves more attention and which proves the potential of new technologies in the creation of a new kind of cinematic language. With this film, Mazomenos created a trilogy of philosophical essays by means of visual expérimentations. His later films Remembrance (2002) and Guilt (2010) received many positive reviews and international recognition; especially the last in which Mazomenos explored narrative cinema through a nightmarish and confronting story.
Vrasidas Karalis, A history of Greek cinema, The Continuum International Publishing Group, New York (2012)
DAYS OF RAGE
The best Greek film at this year’s festival. The most consummate, even though it belongs to the marginal category of experimental cinema. Yet Mazomenos’ experimentations are not of the kind that causes the viewer embarrassment. Quite the contrary, the latter is called upon to participate in a fascinating film journey where music, literature and painting co-exist harmoniously, in a personal interpretation of the Myth of Daedalus, seen under the prism of the birth, rise and fall of western civilization.
Babis Aktsoglou, ATHENORAMA 17/11/1995
DAYS OF RAGE
An eschatological look at Judgment Day on this now aged continent. A film requiem to western civilization and its barbarism, through allegories and symbols and a polemic perspective on the new Middle Ages. Mazomenos condenses the tragedy of the people of Europe and denounces the present day.
Eleni Machera, EPENDYTIS 18/11/1995
DAYS OF RAGE
A film for the elite…
Bozidar Zekevic, POLITICA 07/02/1996
THE TRIUMPH OF TIME
Arrogance is the subject. Don Quixote is the guide. A journey in the ages through history and civilization. The Triumph of Time stands above film norms, prompting enthusiastic applause from audiences with a television aesthetic. Mazomenos’ work is like a book. You must read it many times in order to discover all its dimensions.
Fred Zaugg. DER KLEINE BUND 30/11/1996
THE TRIUMPH OF TIME
Only one Greek film that is totally different from the others The Triumph of Time demonstrated that avant-garde Greek cinema has acquired younger talented filmmakers. Beyond whatever technological achievements it has to show, the film is impressive due to the work done on its subject: a poetic and philosophical description of the journey of Don Quixote, together with Chaplin who films him, who tries to save civilization from the prehistoric mummy of destruction. A battle waged by Don Quixote, together with Mazomenos himself, to overcome the passage of Time…
Ninos Fenek-Mikelidis, ELEFTHEROTYPIA 12/11/1996
THE TRIUMPH OF TIME
Vassilis Mazomenos returns with an equally interesting film as regards form. With the help of computer animation and the creative use of music the director composes a sort of filmic opera.
Babis Aktsoglou, ATHENORAMA 18/04/02
The film is an exercise in futurology at a difficult period. Certainly it is not a documentary but a poetic exploration of the present and the future that takes place at the antipode of classic economic perception and can be read as a revealing commentary on the oncoming crisis.
BANK ASSURANCE WORLD, September 1998
The scenes with Christ in Wall Street are not only striking, but are indicative of the whole film. A sort of experiment that charts new roads in cinema.
Ninos Fenek-Mikelidis, ELEFTHEROTYPIA 18/11/1998
Mazomenos depicts a universe of money using the terms of the paradise and hell of Christian religion and the lived morality that, moreover, along with worldly power constitutes the crutches of money.
CHRIMATISTIRIO , 7/10/1998
When after some years a pile of trashy American films have sunk into oblivion, history will make mention of a pioneer in Greece who forged a path in cinema that many were to follow.
NEMESIS, January 1999
“Money” is a challenging, captivating metaphor. In a world on the brink of the Apocalypse, terrified by the ghosts of the Millennium, “Money” becomes the “Divine Comedy” of our days that leads us from Paradise to Purgatory and finally to Hell, since having lost its values Humanity awaits Judgment Day. An extraordinary and authentic creation, “Money” is one of the finest works of European Cinema, an example of the new ways with which the cinema of the future can become.
Antonio Reis, Catalogue, FANTASPORTO, February 2001
Mazomenos’ film is nightmarishly apocalyptic. Jesus searches his church desperately for worshippers. His only salvation lies in supporting the stocks of his faithful followers. Idolatry soars. The multitude of the faithful pours forth in the form of the yellowish gold metal, crosses the underground passages, follows the arcades and sweeps up everything in its path as it surges. The Renaissance-like images adorn the books of destruction. The human spirit bedimmed by the raptures and the massacres dreams of a provincial ennui on a universal scale. Who cares about the reactionary angels? Who cares about the confidentiality of psychoses? Hope, the virtue of slaves, sank in the eyes of Botticelli’s Venus. In Mazomenos’ film, the new mythology is full of heavenly toxins, becomes the mythology of darkness. The gods of the West are killing us to entertain themselves. Spiritual Persepolis became as desolate as materialistic Sousa.
Elias Logothetis, ANT1, February 2002
The triumph (and poetry) of memory. An independent film, a magnificent blend of audiovisual enjoyment, where lust is not confined to love and desire but extends to the lust of poetry and music and the film image in general.
Ninos Fenek-Midelidis, ELEFTHEROTYPIA 15/11/2002
His film is permeated by the austere assurance that one so often comes across in the poetry of Lautreamon, Papatsonis or the works of Beckett. The core of its themes is of universal dimensions; its technique is startling. This same strength of viewpoint, the disarming pastiche of the most motley materials that Mazomenos also imposed in his previous films, almost all his choices, function here even more creatively since he condenses materials that in another director’s hands would resemble the mismatched pieces of a giant puzzle.
Constantinos Tzamiotis, HIGHLIGHTS, October 2002
WORDS AND SINS
With his latest work that is aptly entitled “Words and Sins”, he turns towards an austere, abstract, purely poetic cinema. His original idea to present Christ’s last moments as an African pagan ceremony using black immigrants makes the film soar poetically, while the chapters of the sins constitute a delicate, ironic commentary on the desire to grow rich since the stockbroker becomes the victim of the world he is serving. A film pregnant with meaning, significant and important, that addresses itself first and foremost to all those who dispose of a clear vision and who love the abstract and totally deconstructive cinema of associative style.
Dimitris Koliodimos, catalogue, Thessaloniki Film Festival, 2004
WORDS AND SINS
From “Days of Rage” to “Material Terror” by way of “The Triumph of Time” and “Money”, Vassilis Mazomenos has never ceased to surprise us but also to fascinate us as much with his views of our world as with his original cinematic perception. Elements that he brings from a cinema of the avant-garde in his first fiction film which is also his most consummate. A work that is clearly poetic, that combines image, words and music in a fascinating manner. With shots that are set up in an inspired way, with images that are visually magnificent (there are moments that are reminiscent of Pasolini’s “The Gospel according to Saint Matthew” but also his “Notes on an African Oresteia”) with wonderfully selected music (that combines classical western motifs with African motifs), with words (from the poetry of Ezra Pound and others) playing an equally significant role, Mazomenos records the odyssey of modern, western, alienated man who mounts, without hope of salvation (?) his tortuous Mount Golgotha.
Ninos Fenek-Mikelidis, ELEFTHEROTYPIA 27/11/2004
WORDS AND SINS
Christ is a black immigrant…
Of the lesser figures in current contemporary Greek cinema that dare to try their luck both within and without non-representational cinema, Vassilis Mazomenos eludes the familiar categories. Using mixed techniques or playing with forms and expressive means, he directs documentaries, animation or feature films with experimental approaches in poetic realism, in fantastic cinema or films d’essai, etc. The reenactment of Christ’s passion conceived by a half-crazed poet (with a black immigrant playing Christ) in his new film “Words and Sins” is yet another example of this avant-garde aesthetic proposal of his.
Voula Palaiologou, OS3, November 2004
WORDS AND SINS
Fortunately, according to Vassilis Mazomenos, there are poets. Thanks to poets, witnesses of the great miracle of the collective unconscious (Christ, his Passion, rejection of the material world) somewhere a flame still flickers that sheds light on the exaltation of human capability: to seek the impossible… The filmmaker, who has won awards at international film festivals and is daring in his choice of themes and forms, moves easily between the documentary and 3D animation. As the pivots of his narrative he uses the clash of two worlds (that of the immigrant who symbolizes the world of faith and that of the Yuppie who represents the material world) and the triadic nature of women (the nurse is also the Virgin in the reenactment of Christ’s Passion and a member of the nursing staff at the baths). With his new film “Words and Sins” Vassilis Mazomenos once again provides the pretext for corresponding questions – always timely, not only because they are beyond the time or place in which he usually sets the films he directs. So there you have it. Despite the cheap, sex comedies version of cinema that deadened every shred of aesthetic enjoyment and soul-searching, thanks to one film we continue to ask.
HIGHLIGHTS, November-December 2004
WORDS AND SINS
Filmmaker Vassiis Mazomenos lived for quite a long time among black immigrants. He heard them tell of their tragedy and the reasons they chose self-exile. A choice that is not at all easy. Not everyone survives the “Golgotha” of a journey to the civilized western world…
Fotini Barka, ELEFTHEROTYPIA 12/10/2004
The director presents us with shocking images the Cyprus’ Guantanamo where the British imprisoned the Cypriot fighters. The link between periods is achieved with the insertion of film archive material. The most interesting thing is that the movie does not scream, but keep the mid-smothered sob of Cyprus and notes through its central character, that there people of our”own” that their only home is profit.
(ARMY KERSANIDIS “EPOXI”)
Vassilis Mazomenos continues on the same wavelength with the previous films although it appears to be “moved” in fiction by making a spiritual film, aimed directly beneath the surface of things, combining fiction with documentary evidence. A film worth seeing to meet and expand the discussion of the director and his creative thinking.
(John Karambitsos “camerastylo”)
The British withdrawal of ’59, the Turkish invasion in ’74, and the murder of Solomos ’96, are those moments in history that external forces played their own game back in Cyprus, and Vasilis Mazomenos examine them through a highly conspiracy look. «Guilt» gives a different aspect of history by placing imaginary pictures of the realistic touches of barbarism.
(Nestor Poulakos “Apogevmatini”)
Difficult challenge for a filmmaker to detect the “breeding hatred” and take into account the stock of forgiveness and coexistence, which continues to have Cyprus: Sharp site and limit the “geography” of Cypriot history, detected by a visual approach to the film, like “archetypal” hell of England Cypriot fighters, seen by references to the Abu Ghraib of our era. The ambitious approach Mazomenos in Cypriot history is oblique, eccentric; with visual and narrative rigor care “testing” the strength of viewers is accustomed to traditional narrative. The director is interested not only understand but also to uncover step by step and idiosyncratic visual vocabulary critical “others”, the “eternal oppressor” …
(Kostas Terzis “Avgi”)
A dipped in dark atmosphere political thriller. Vassilis Mazomenos has set an own, very personal, film narrative. The director operates each season to give every separate location, the art of its own. Influenced by the “colony of convicts” of Kafka and Orson Welles, makes a kind of hellish, dipped in a Kafkaesque atmosphere. Mazomenos fills each scene and each image with reference levels that require the viewer a continuous, active monitoring. The strength of a film that has many, and necessary to tell us, in our times. But we have to forget the traditional cinema that Hollywood bombards us daily and enjoy the magic.
(NINOS Fennec MIKELIDIS “Eleftherotypia)
Vassilis Mazomenos dared and won the bet by signing a contemporary political film.
(Kostoulas Tomadaki ‘Sfina)
Mazomenos records the route of his tragic hero through images selected with thought, images artistically wonderful, with lightings that clearly present the psychological state of the persons. The route of the Afghan immigrant gives the director the opportunity to present us cared and inspired pictures of the sad life of immigrants in our country, to conclude with the amazing, shocking images in the finale. Mazomenos managed with that to give us a strong film.
Ninos Mikelides http://enet.gr
Sensational movie haunted by the truth of a real documentary using though amateur actors in the roles of immigrants. Bends with unimaginable honesty, courage, tenderness and affection over the problem of those human beings sentenced to death from disease, hunger and poverty. Where to save themselves decide to enter the martyrdom of an extremely dangerous journey. Journey that leads them not in salvation but in an infinitely worse fate.
Nikos Koulaftakis , cinemad.gr
Vassilis Mazomenos, the most ” weird” than all Greek directors of his generation, leaves aside for the moment his artistic experimentation (he was the first to use digital technology to create cinematic collage in Greek cinema) and his influence from the early German expressionism and narrates a real story, the way it happens today. Next to us. It’s not a work of complaint, nor attempt to create easy and inexpensive emotion. The universe of Mazomenos is basically poetic, even when looking through the dark heart of the beast . That makes the beast neither less hideous, nor less scary.
MAKIS LAKTARIDIS doctv.gr
Austere but perfect production (including shooting in Afghanistan! ). A brilliant actor, who does not look like even trying, excellent photography and in general exactly what is necessary for a film to meet with the fierce Greek reality in a serious, almost grim, way but not a pretentious one(and all this in a low-budget independent production). The best and most mature work of the director and one of the most remarkable Greek films in recent memory.
Yannis Deliolanis , cinetime.gr
A topical theme, a storyline right through the dirty bowels of Greek everyday life and certainly the best film of the director. V. Mazomenos records with spirit and true, sincere interest the dramatic route of this man who plays actually himself , the real Ali Haidari, an illegal immigrant who is also the film’s narrator .
Yannis Zoumpoulakis , tovima.gr
He (V. Mazomenos) stands with respect to everyday life and his dreams, through observation that reveals universality and says “present!” with a style that attempts to differentiate itself from the sole documentary.
Theodore Koutsoyannopoulos , lifo.gr
Directors “visual word” has plasticity and originality combining stylization with the immediacy of a documentary and theatricality with absolute narrative abstraction.
Christos Mitsis , athinorama.gr
The whole film has a dreamy and melancholic, but terrifying underground atmosphere as well, simply knit and without styling that makes you alongside with the narrative to empathize with the character, not just as individual but as a whole. diavasinet.gr
On first glance, the story of Ali shows how the others, the civilized Europeans, have exploited and despised. The interesting and coherent anthropocentric view of Mazomenos to the issue of refugees and migration, affects the relation with the present and the countless other nameless – that we encounter in our path, without being interested in their personal story .
Antigone Katsadima , lego4.blogspot.gr
The myth of the West of wealth and opportunity, of course, soon collapses…. From Afghanistan to Iran and from Turkey to Greece, Ali falls victim to racism and authority. He does not live the «western dream» but a nightmare as he experiences the most inhumane reality that most immigrants face in a foreign country. In a deeply xenophobic Greece, ” 10th Day ” seems more topical and prophetic than ever ( the film began well before the rise of the Golden Dawn ) .
Cleanthes Kleanthous , timeoutcyprus.com
With a very documentary- style, in a no budget film Vassilis Mazomenos manages to enter the lives and everyday living of an Afghan refugee in Greece in 2013. With simple and direct cinema the director makes us focus on common images of everyday life that pass us by without giving them importance. The protagonist Ali Haidari impresses us with his presence in the film and with the simplicity and the without make-up comfort that he presents the harsh everyday life of an immigrant in Athens. It is exactly this stark reality that runs through the film
Kyriakos Banos , ergatiki.gr
The director who is not afraid to identify his ideology and beliefs, enriches the film with aptly flashbacks and memories of the protagonists’ s life in homeland, and with brilliantly allegorical parallels. The Greek director unlike Tony Gatlif and his work «Indignados» which also had references to Greece and immigration, suggests through the way that he films onto Ali, that this is actually not as complex and complicated problem as it seems.. Humanism is something simpler. It is attitude .
Iakovos Gogakis , screeneye.net
” A stifling symphony of defeat for human kind as a whole, “Lines” is a necessary film in times in which numbers and ideological yarns dominate the political agenda, much to the disadvantage of the millions of individuals ensnared in a system that has proven to be frail and unreliable.”
“Director Vasilis Mazomenos offers a uncompromisingly bleak, ghastly and haunting view of modern Greece in “Lines”. Seven chapters about seven broken individuals, about what it means to live in Greece in these hard times of financial restraint”.
Official page Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
“Lines does not focus on the political side of the crisis, but concentrates on the people who had to endure it. Everything extraneous is left out of the story. Mazomenos puts faces back on the numbers and creates a harrowing testament to the challenging years that have left scars on many.”
Liina Laugesaar Cineuropa
“A movie shock, surprising, nocturnal, shouting his rage through seven tables, seven paintings of durations approximately equal, the whole forming a coherent whole despite the side Byzantine intentionally of each Party. Straight lines, circulars, symmetrical, disordered also, as if the logic of the ancient Greece had disappeared for ever”
Élie Castiel Séquences