An alternative perspective on migration depicted through a gallery of portraits of a not so quiet daily life in Kavala, a small town in Northern Greece. An ageing local community juxtaposed with a young refugee family residing in the town because of a distant war. While silently contemplating on the past and patiently waiting for the future to come, they are all living a normal, seemingly quiet life.
Kavala is a small coastal town in Northern Greece. It is one of the towns through which refugees have been passing on their way to Northern Europe. It is also my hometown and the place I had been living until my mid-twenties when I moved to the United Kingdom. After I left, and during my visits back to the town, I started noticing elements there that I did not - or possibly could not - notice before. Slowly over time, I started looking at it through a different perspective, questioning our connection. What does this place mean to me?
Quiet Life is a film giving a glimpse of life in that town, which, as numerous others in Greece and across Europe, has severely been affected by several changes over the last decade; mass movements of populations, economic crisis, young people fleeing abroad, are some of them. In the film I observe the life of several characters. On the one hand, there are the locals - an ageing community without young people, suffering in their realities - and on the other hand there are young refugees, who are only passing by and consider the place as a temporary paradise.
In Quiet Life I am self-shooting a series of portraits of daily life in Kavala. The backbone of the film is the story of a Syrian refugee family- a mother in her 30s with her two boys – who are hosted by an elderly couple while waiting to get permission to continue their journey to their final destination, Germany. Their daily life is juxtaposed with the lives of locals such as the couple hosting the Syrians, a pensioner, a priest etc.
All these people share the same fate of living in that small town, close to each other but yet not that close. To some of them Kavala feels like prison - a home in decline - while to others it is their escape route. The story of the refugee family stands as a reference point for the rest, offering a fresh perspective to the town, in a way, that of a visitor. The mother with the two boys, having recently escaped a distant war, experience the town in a totally different way from the locals who have spent their entire lives there. There is, however, a common denominator in their lives, that they are all waiting; waiting for the future to come. And while waiting, they are trying to cover their quiet lives with noise, any kind of noise, just because when silence comes life becomes unbearable.
Quiet Life is not one more film about Syrian refugees. It is a film about the impact of human mobility on small communities, the ironical nature of life, the importance of togetherness and symbiosis but also the inevitable loneliness we experience in our lives. One could argue that the film develops into a brief examination of life in modern Greece or even a microcosm of life in Europe.
What drove me into making this film is not solely my new personal relationship with the town that has developed over the last six years of my life. That change coincides with the aforementioned social developments that occurred in Kavala as well as in the whole European region which have led to reformation of life in communities, towns and countries. Quiet Life allows the audience to contemplate and reflect on those changes but also on their own lives, prompting them eventually to ask the same question I had when I started working on this film: What does the place we live in mean to us?
director & producer Tasos Giapoutzis
co-writers Tasos Giapoutzis & Marios Kleftakis
film editor & sound designer Marios Kleftakis
original music Jean Delouvroy
translation Hedaia Ghannam
production Thinking Image Films Ltd.
in association with Dapa-Doupa Films & University of Bedfordshire
Tasos Giapoutzis, director | producer | co-writer
Born and raised in Kavala, Greece, Tasos Giapoutzis lives and works in London as a freelance filmmaker and lecturer in film theory and practice at the University of Bedfordshire. In 2017 he was awarded full scholarship from the University of York to carry out his doctoral studies in Film by Creative Practice. His films have participated at numerous film festivals worldwide. Killing My Girl has been selected at over 50 international festivals; When Dahlias Bend Down premiered at the 18th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival; The Sea had its world premiere at the 13th Reykjavik International Film Festival. In the past he worked on Distribution and Sales at the Feature Films Department of Red Bull Media House in Salzburg, Austria. His training as a director includes participations at the Go Short Talent Campus in Nijmegen, the Talent Development Campus in Cork as well as the Reykjavik Talent Lab. Quiet Life is his first feature documentary.
Quiet Life | 2019
The Sea | 2017
When Dahlias Bend Down | 2016
Killing My Girl | 2014
Marios Kleftakis, co-writer | editor | sound designer
Marios Kleftakis was born in Athens. He works across the UK, Denmark, and Greece as a film editor and sound designer. Films he has worked on have participated at numerous film festivals worldwide. Some of the recent films he edited are The Seven Sisters Indoor Market (documentary, 2016), which premiered at the East End Film Festival in London and screened in educational institutions such as LSE and UCL, and Vesterbro (short film, 2016), which had its world premiere at the Paris Courts Devant film festival. Recently he completed editing the multi-character documentary Athina. These days he is working on the editing of his first feature film as director with the working title The Sudden Birth, a combination of observational documentary and fiction.
Un Burra de Na | 2018
Athina | 2017
The Seven Sisters Indoor Market | 2016
When Dahlias Bend Down | 2016
Vesterbro | 2016
Lost in Lebanon | 2015
Northern Paradigm | 2014
Killing My Girl | 2014
21st Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Greece, 2019
18th DokuFest, Kosovo, 2019
7th Chania Film Festival, Greece, 2019
7th AegeanDocs, Greece, 2019
1st GrecDoc, France, 2019
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