Orfeas Peretzis wraps shooting on Riviera
Vassilis Economou | cineuropa.org
The Greek writer-director is working on the story of a girl trying to find answers in a world that is gradually disintegrating
Greek writer-director Orfeas Peretzis has so far written and directed six short films, and has recently completed a documentary essay film, Iodine – Greece in the Ruins of Missolonghi, which won the Audience Award at this year’s Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival. Riviera is his debut fiction feature, which has just wrapped principal photography.
The film follows Alkistis, who lives in a family villa with rooms to let on the Athenian Riviera, alongside her mother Anna and their only clients: Petros, a writer; and the Chatzivasilious, an elderly couple. She is devoted to two things: her father, who died in a water-skiing accident, and a palm tree called The Jerry that lives in the front garden. Despite Alkistis' fierce opposition, her mother decides to sell the family villa. Riviera is about Alkistis’ last summer in this house, as she tries to find meaning in a world that is vanishing around her.
The screenplay was written by Peretzis, and Alkistis is portrayed by Eva Samioti in her debut role in a feature film. The rest of the cast includes well-known Greek actors such as Maria Apostolakea, Kostas Koronaios, Christos Vasilopoulos, Sofia Seirli, Alkis Panagiotidis, Mihalis Siriopoulos and Myrto Meitani-Kastrinaki. As for the crew, Giorgos Valsamis is behind the camera (he was the DoP on Vassilis Kekatos’ Palme d’Or-winning short The Distance Between Us and the Sky), while the editing is handled by Giorgos Zafeiris (Apples [+]).
Peretzis discussed the inspiration for his film: “Riviera is filled with memories from my teenage years, when I used to go on holidays with my grandmother in a seaside town outside of Athens. These memories consisted of run-down villas with dusty old BMWs and Mercedes with flat tyres left in the garages. I would hear stories about the owners, how well they lived and the big parties they used to throw. It seems that this past is what identified them. I grew up with stories from what seemed like a glorious past, but now we're living through a problematic present with economic, environmental and cultural crises. Riviera has become an acceptance of this anxiety as bliss, rather than as a curse, in these ever-changing times, while dealing with it by rejecting a glorious past that is no longer possible. Alkistis is a colourful personality brimming with youth and forced to search for a raison d'être beyond this place and time.”
Riviera is a Greek-French co-production being staged by Konstantinos Vassilaros for Athens-based StudioBauhaus, with Alexandre Gavras (KG Productions), in co-production with ERT SA and Micro Climat Studios. The film has received support from Creative Europe – MEDIA, the Greek Film Centre, the CNC, the Aide à la Coproduction d’Œuvres Cinématographiques Franco-Grecques support fund and the National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication - EKOME SA. The project was developed at MIDPOINT Feature Launch 2019 and at the MFI Script2Film Workshops.