77th International Film Festival of Salerno - Official Selection
Cast and Crew
Starring Tor Leijten as Natalie and Annabel Leventon as the Mother
Written, directed and produced by Konstantinos Doxiadis
Produced by Isabella Barkett
Production Company Kontsentrat Films
Line Producer Philippine Vieubled
Director of Photography Louise Gholam
1st Assistant Camera Lola Loubet
Gaffer Gaëlle Guérin
Sparks Jean Roquand & Mel Rodet
Grip Mel Rodet
Art Direction Eva Rapti
Location Sound Recordist Riwa Saab
2nd Unit Camera Rob O'Kelly
2nd Unit AC Alasdair Baines
Colourist Aiden Tobin
Sketches by Ilia Giokari
Editor Natalia Gozdzik
Sound Design and Mixing John Konsolakis and Eva Dimitriadi
Audio Engineer Adam Farrell
Morphes is currently in pre-production. It will be shot in November of 2023.
Aubade is currently in development. It will be shot in Q2/Q3 2024.
A Greek-to-English translation of Takis Sinopoulos' Elpenor for Asymptote.
Elpenor, how art thou come to this dark coast . . .
Land of death. The frozen sea the black cypress trees
the shallow shore ravaged by salt and sun
the hollow boulders the stifling heat
and not a drop of water, not a single flutter of a bird’s wings
only that endless formless clotted silence.
It was one of our men that spotted him
a young one that called out: Look, there stands Elpenor.
And our heads snapped round. Strange that we remembered him
for our memory had shrivelled to nought.
But it truly was Elpenor, standing by those black cypress trees
Consumed by his thoughts and blinded by the sun
his shorn fingertips clawing feebly at the sand.
And I called to him with joy: Elpenor,
Elpenor, how art thou come to this dark coast?
You who were impaled with that dark iron, you who perished
And whose remains just last winter we uncovered, thick blood clotting your lips
As your heart bled out against the tholepin’s rod.
With a cracked oar did we plant you at the edge of the shore
So that the whispers of the wind and the roars of the sea might keep you company
And here! Here we find you living! How art thou come to this dark coast
Blinded thus by spite and endless ruminations?
He did not turn to us. He could not hear. And I cried out again
A dark fear stirring deep within me: Elpenor, you, who courted fortune
Who went forth only with a rabbit’s foot slung around your neck, Elpenor,
You who are lost thus and wandering in the countless threads of history,
I greet you, and in return receive only mine echo
How art thou come here, old friend? What twist of fate
Brought you to this dark ship that bears us, wanderers as we too are
Numbed beneath this scorching sun, answer me
If your heart wills you to join us, answer me.
He did not turn to us. He could not hear. And the silence grew only heavier.
The unrelenting light dug deeper, wormed its way through the dirt.
The sea the cypress trees the shore, all entombed
In deathly silence. But he, that is, Elpenor,
Who we had with fervour pursued across these threadbare manuscripts
Tormented as we had been by the bitterness of his solitude
By the sun that burned through the gaps in his thought
By the shorn fingers that feebly cloyed at sand
But he, but he faded as an illusion, swiftly into nothingness
Carried not by winds nor by sound into the ether of eternity.
Poem published in Issue 9 of La Piccioletta Barca.
And then went down to sea
And carved the shore along their breakers
Dry keel on wet sand
And salt spray stinging at their skin
The winds grow stronger
And wilder are the waves
Rising froth seeping into timber
Curling up the prow
And the sands soak deeper
They force them to their knees
To kneel before the churning waters
And face the ever-twisting sea
And then a lull in the struggle
A silence amidst the howls
And then a whisper
A quiet whisper
The low voice of Hesperus
Giving reason to their fears
‘What if the sun sets
And no moon rises to replace it?
What if the sea swells
And the tides drain out the coast?’
He tugs at their sleeves
‘What if your ship lies grounded
And you by its wooden carcass rot?’
And so they stand
Rubbing grit from salt-flecked eyes
And stretching weary bodies
‘And what if the stars
Faint and ever-fading
Are only visible at sea?’
And so they turn
Straight backs hunched once more
Eyes shining with resolve
And putting shoulder into stern
They push –
And digging bare soles into mud
They heave –
The crudely felled wood
Stirring against their efforts
Loose ends and jagged corners
Giving way against their weight
And reeling down into the shallows
Here, crest and prow are one
Rising and falling
With a single breath
-From salt unto salt-
And back to the beginning:
They drag themselves onto the deck
Drenched in water and sweat
And soft laughter shatters through the turmoil
Rivalling the gale...
And hand upon worn-out hand
Grip hard onto the halyard
Hoisting up those measly sails
Those dirty patches of tatters and dreams
Gasping madly for the wind
And the ship lurches forward -
No longer one with motion -
Scrambling in vain to stay afloat
As the shore recedes into the distance
And sun upon horizon draws
Spooling out its dying embers
And sewing cowls of shadow on their backs…
It is a shame they do not turn
Not even for a moment
For as the final ray is woven
And their shadows into darkness cast
They fail to see them shrouding
All lands within their grasp
Short story published in Issue 28 of La Piccioletta Barca.
Hither, Muse, sweet clear Muse of the many tunes and everlasting song, and begin a new lay for maids to sing. - Alcman (7th century BC)
They called her Ino, the beauty of Boeotia, mother to Learchus and Melicertes, and daughter of Cadmus of Thebes. Her gaze was likened to Amphitrite’s, wife to Poseidon, and her temperament compared to the lord of the sea himself. But now the years have passed, and the sands shifted, so she is remembered simply as ‘Ino, Queen of the Sea.’ And much like the kingdom granted her, her true heart lay not in the waves and froth but remained hidden in the depths beneath.
Her suitors were not wholly mistaken in their comparisons, for Ino was a woman with steel in her eyes, whose voice would rouse even the most disobedient of followers. All took was a slanted glance for her cores to pierce right through a body, letting mere mortals know that life was for her to lead.
And for many years she did just this: she led, effortlessly. Each movement followed smoothly as a natural progression from the previous one, and as she strode and her lithe limbs folded over each other, one would be left with the impression that she was a woman incapable of thinking. A being that would simply exist, with all else forming as an extension to this very existence. It was her utter control over such ordinary actions that struck all who saw her. A soft wave of the hand, a hum of disappointment. Anyone entering her court for the first time (and a good dozen times after) would find themselves holding their breath in her presence. For as she moved and spoke and commanded, time seemed to slow about her, and life itself seemed to form around her desires, shaping its very fabric around her twists and pirouettes.
Ino, of course, paid no heed to such impressions. Indeed, she seemed to not even register her effect on others, staying true to her nature and gliding effortlessly through time. Feeling in the core of her bones that she was the one hosting the world around her, and never the other way around.
But mortality is a fickle friend, and soon enough, even Ino, the once-beauty of Boeotia, had to confront her years.
The changes did not appear suddenly. They had been gathering on her for the better part of two decades: the looser skin around her thighs, and the thin, faint wrinkles above her brows and chin. But to Ino, more so than anyone else, the cruel parting of youth registered in one fell swoop.
It was not the wizened skin that worried her, nor the way her feet would ache after a morning of mere walking. It was the fact that movements no longer came naturally. She would awake and force herself out of her sheets, and then with great efforts guide her hands to grasp her tunic and pull it over bare shoulders. Then, every step, every twist of her head, every uttered word, loud or soft, required effort. By the time the sun had reached its peak she’d be exhausted, with no idea how she would last to the end of the day.
She began to spend increasing time locked in her room, either resting in bed or reclining on her long wooden bench, staring listlessly at the ceiling. If every action required her exertion, she’d rather not engage in actions at all. Or at least, that was her reasoning.
On the surface, the waves remained largely the same, and even her closest chambermaids found little amiss with their mistress. Not that they didn’t notice the changes on her body—those had been apparent from the very beginning. Rather, it was that they had never been under any illusion of immortality. They were simple people, ordinary people, for whom the toils and troubles of aging did not warrant serious concern.
Beneath the surface, however, the currents had changed. Where once radiant blue waters shone, now rested a murky bed of silt. Ino knew she was no longer ‘the same,’ and she desperately wanted to return to her prior self, to drink again that nectar of youth which could make any living being immortal.
Thus, as her skin grew more wizened still, and the spark in her eyes dulled, she drew herself further into her past. She would awake and cast herself to the golden years of Ino the beauty. She would refrain of looking into mirrors or water and recline, on her bench, her eyes closed, willing herself back to the years of suitors and laughter and sun. All day she would reminisce, and at night sleep a dreamless sleep, her body willing for the sun to dawn again, willing for it to rise in the past once more.
But the life of a shade sates none for long, and soon the old woman Ino grew tired of the past too. Her memory had grown hazy, and the effort required to return to those days of carefree joy invalidated the solace they provided. Having now abandoned the past, and having already forgone the future, Ino was left with the painful temporality of the present. Never before had she given herself so fully to the senseless trickling of time, which treated all moments equally and tunnelled forth without allowing its passengers room for a second’s respite. For one so used to basking in pauses—in the security and stability of the future and past, life became an absolute misery. Ino could not bear the thought of having to force herself into action every moment of her life, to grasp the flow of the currents and continue swimming forth in life's river, forging through ceaselessly until she was cast into the vast eternal anonymity of the sea.
So, arising one last time, she strode out of her home, across dirt paths and fields, walking tirelessly until she reached the ocean. There, protected by the deafening crashes of the waves onto the beach, she opened her eyes wide and wept. For hours she wept freely and without abandon, losing herself in the racking sobs so completely that she failed to notice she was drawing them from her body with the same ease she had in her youth. Away from prying ears and eyes she continued, the day turning into night and breaking into day again. Finally, her body was spent, and all the drops of sea had left her being.
And this was how she passed, resting her weary down one final time on the wet sand, and closing her eyes slowly, her head cast up towards the sky.
But little did Ino know that she had not been truly alone, as her soul gave its last ode to life. Beside her resting body lay a group of empty white shells whose inhabitants had long since crept out of to find another home. Shells that had rested their weary form one final time, just as she had, waiting for time to take them. But as she gave out her final throes, sobbing and shrieking, they took pity on her plight, and with great care latched onto her voice, pulling it apart from the crashing waves and cawing gulls, and sheltering it within them. And to this day, were one to chance upon an empty shell on the beach, and hold it closely to their ears, within they would hear not sea nor wind, but the final cries of Ino, the beauty of Boeotia, the Queen of the Sea, who mourns her own death.
A Greek-to-English translation of Takis Sinopoulos' Repast for Elpenor for the International poetry review.
That evening the air felt warm and heavy.
The wind pulled out the candles’ flames
toward the ceiling. Crimson curtains
covered the windows and the austere Silence
made its way through the deserted
When I finally tired from the company of my thoughts
I raised my eyes and suddenly saw I was encircled
by a crowd of mute shades watching
unwavering and slowly increasing in number
always watching. It was then that I asked in a sombre voice:
Friends why have you gathered and what do you seek?
They did not answer but continued to meet my gaze
and yet more shades appeared until like the evening breeze
they filled the hall.
Faces I had seen figures I had greeted
all through life’s flow in the cruellest years
in fogs and cellars in grimy back-alleys
all well-versed in knives and blood and rape.
And again I asked, my tone resolute:
Why do you stand here mute and how did you enter?
And when they refused to answer my rage consumed me:
Cursed dogs what do you seek? Talk.
You, you blind clod what do you want? Answer quickly
for my hand impatient grows.
Then the shade softly responded: Friend recall
that countless years ago you blinded me. Give me
back the light I was deprived. Within me sparked
a scarlet rage and I said: Blind man
get out of my sight before death takes you.
The shade did not speak but continued to watch unwavering.
I couldn’t bear it any longer. I turned and saw Lucas
forty years dead bearing a terrible
affliction on his face. Behind him Isaac
a sickly man taken down by an embittered pellet in Albania
beside him Markellos and further back Alexander
whom I killed one night in a dark cistern.
And all they watched me mute and unmoving
with their bloated eyes, as they grew closer together
increasing in number around the hall.
I felt a sharp chill course through my being but still cried
in that deep and sombre voice: Dogs
demons begone with you. For you
I have nothing. And with that I entered the room
where I slept hoping I had seen the last of them.
But then dark rage and anger
clouded my visage. Countless forms
poured in and unwavering continued to watch me.
And the soft wind blew from the open windows
its faint murmur calling forth more
until unceasing the forms had filled the room.
And among them I saw Demos, donned fully in khaki
the very same Demos that was always so filthy at the front
and deeply shaken I inquired in a tremulous voice:
Demos how are you here? How did you come at this time?
He did not speak but gave only a sweet smile
and then solemnly began to set the table
with its long black cloth whose
weighted tassels reached the floor and alighted upon it
three large candles in their silver holders.
I felt my knees give way to fear and my memory
dove deep into my being dredging up some old
forgotten promise to dear deceased Elpenor.
And as suddenly as a soft light at the end of a deep
tunnel rapidly looms
so too did his image grow within my mind
and Elpenor was now afore me bursting with life.
His gaze locked on to me so sweet and resolute.
His lips began to move and then shut-off again
and I could swear I heard
his faint murmuring voice: My friend
you have long forgotten me. Not even a repast
nor a memorial did you grant old Elpenor.
Bitter does my death persist
and even darker and more bitter it shall be
through the passage of time. Grant me atonement my friend.
So did I hear and clouds of guilt appeared
afore me and my eyes glazed over
suddenly from tears as dark as a river
swelling in the autumn from the heavy rain.
And when finally they had dried and I wiped
my streaked face with my palms and raised my gaze
to meet Elpenor’s, I found nothing.
And the bedroom and the hall had suddenly emptied.
From the open windows blew in a warm breeze.
The light cheap and unbearably clouded
poured out everywhere and the nurse
clad in full white and deeply drained
carefully secured the row of magical herbs
lined up against the high shelf.
Konstantinos Doxiadis was born in Athens, Greece on the 23rd of January, 1999.
In 2018, he founded the literary magazine, La Piccioletta Barca, and oversaw its publication for four years. During this period, the magazine was inducted in the British Library's permanent archive, as well as the permanent collection of the National Poetry Library (UK). The latter commended the magazine as one of the top 4 literary magazines in the UK in 2020.
His has been published in a variety of magazines in the UK, US, and Greece. Recently, his writing has appeared in Asymptote, the International Poetry Review, and Athens Voice. Translations of his work have recently appeared in The Books Journal (Greek), and Buenos Aires Poetry (Spanish).
Since 2023, he has shifted his focus to writing and directing for film. His first short, Still Life, was completed in Oxford, UK, in the Spring of 2023. His second short, Morphes, is currently in pre-production, and will be shot in Athens, Greece, in November of 2023.
He is currently developing his third short, Aubade, and his first feature, Samothraki.