Athina Rachel Tsangari is a notable member of what-is-called the “Greek Weird Wave”, the new era of Greek cinema, along with Lanthimos, Avranas and many other Greek film directors. The international success of these filmmakers is what has gained attention to the Greek cinema once again.
The 47 year old film director, writer and producer was born in Athens and studied literature in Thessaloniki, performance studies in New York and film directing in Austin, Texas. Her first feature films she directed were “The Slow Business of Going” (2000) and “Attenberg” (2010). The last one won many awards in major film festivals around the world, including the Best Actress Award in Venice Film Festival for Arian Labed. This terrific drama depicts the coming of age of a young woman as she deals with her father’s terminal illness and her first sexual experiences. While sometimes being quite awkward for the viewer, “Attenberg” offers a fresh take of a conventional storyline.
Tsangari’s follow-up is “The Capsule”, an avant garde co-operation with Polish artist Aleksandra Waliszewska. The film is truly a capsule of the filmmaker’s radical vision and high aesthetic. As part of DesteFashionCollection 2012, the film was presented at Barney’s in New York but also screened in Locarno, Toronto and at the Sundance Film Festival.
While still living in the USA, she founded the Cinematexas International Short Film Festival, which ran from 1995 to 2006. She was also a projection designer and video director of the creative team led by Dimitris Papaioannou, that designed the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics in Athens. In 2013 she was member of the jury of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival and directed a short film, part of the project “Venezia 70 – Future Reloaded” for the Venice Film Festival.
Tsangari has lived outside from Greece for almost 20 years but has now returned and she is there to stay, despite the crisis the country is facing at the moment. “This is the situation and somehow we have to fix it now, and cinema is a great way to do that. I’m not saying I’m going to make a film about the riots – I don’t want to be that literal – but Greece is an unknown country, even to its citizens, and I want to discover it for myself”, said the director at an interview for The Guardian.
Here at ÉCU, we are excited to see what more she has to give the indie world. The cinema that Tsangari represent it’s made of all the elements that ÉCU stands for: originality, creativity, experimentation and free spirit. Kudos, Athina!