Marianna Economou: “It’s a shame to base dreams just on the economy”

Συνέντευξη στο Μάριο Ζέτκι, πρωτοετή φοιτητή στο Τμήμα Ιστορίας, Αρχαιολογίας και Διαχείρισης Πολιτισμικών Αγαθών του Πανεπιστημίου Πελοποννήσου, στο πλαίσιο συνεργασίας του Ιδρύματος με το 6 

THE INTERVIEW

Which was the motive behind this particular film title and how did the tomatoes meet Wagner? How could a plant that is native to Central and East America, meet a German composer?

I would say that the existence of a paradox and some unexpected circumstances played a decisive role in my involvement with this story. It’s remarkable that in a small village of the Thessalian plain, that is being characterized by an introversion and threatened by extinction due to the economic crisis, two men and five women, being, at the same time, original, hardworking and full of humor, dare to face the global food markets with outstanding results. The title of this film shows how special is their story, but also the people themselves. One day, while the two leading actors were walking on the fields, planning the distribution of the crops, they start talking about the influence that music has on their plants. Wagner was a spontaneous inspiration of Christos, a traditional farmer of the Thessalian plain. Until this very day, we don’t know how the idea of Wagner came up, and if the German composer spoke, for real, to the heart of these tomatoes. The thing that’s important is that, since then, the plain filled up with melodies, making its horizon a little bigger for the residents.

Given the fact that the movie’s content is social, which is the message that you want to transmit to your viewer and, mainly, to the younger generation?

I usually let the movie speak for itself, as each person identifies and connects to the story and the ‘’characters’’ in a different way. The thing that personally motivated me in that small, local story was the global dimension of the crucial topic of agriculture and viability of these small agricultural communities worldwide but also in a more human level. The movie also explores the power of human relationships, the power of poetry and humor in our lives, and also our need of reinventing ourselves when hard times are upon us. I tried to create a film that is an ode to people, who allow their minds to think out of the box, that they overcome their fears, they dream, they dive deep into life and they tangle their lives with the lives of different people.

“It’s a shame to base dreams just on the economy”. Can you support this statement made in the movie?

The whole project presented in the movie is based on a life philosophy that does not have to do with the economy. This project needs a bigger picture about life in order for someone to dare to do some things that exceed the reality of economies in capitalist societies. For Alexandros, our hero, life is a wholesome experience. It is hard work but also poetry, humor, human relationships, challenges. It’s not always about the profit; it’s important for the village to stay alive, for the few residents to have jobs in order to get together, exchange ideas and dreams; to give their lives a meaning. For Alexandros and the women, Columbus, Wagner, the Flower Girl and the local nymphs, are parts of their everyday life, they give their lives a meaning, as well as the proper push to attempt new things. It’s interesting the fact that the ‘’story’’ surrounding their products, played a decisive role in the promotion of their products abroad. Down the road, they realized that the Global Markets of Food seek, other than quality, a ‘’good story’’ that follows the products. In that way, the story revolving around their tomatoes, acted like a bridge that brought together the two ends of the productive chain.

Is it possible nowadays, that agriculture proves to be the driver of the country’s economy?

Big steps must be taken, not only in Greece but also in the European Agricultural Policy in order for the country to be based, once again, on this primary sector, and of course develop it at the same time. The natural conditions in Greece are unique. The climate and the soil provide the ideal conditions for the development of a large biodiversity. With proper planning, supervision and education of the farmers, Greece could be transformed into the biggest agricultural garden of Europe.

As a director, could you describe us the feelings that the plot of this movie inspired to you?

Sadness about the degradation of our villages, great anxiety about the future of agriculture and agricultural products of quality but also great joy about the courage and originality of some people

How did you come up with the scenario of this movie? Is it based on your own personal experience or on the experiences of other people?;

I came up with it while watching for a long period of time, these people that lived in this village.

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