The filmmaker Costa-Gavras has just achieved <em>Chat for adults</em>, a film that explores the underbelly of the debt crisis in Greece.
May 22, 2020 4: 00
Costa-Gavras: A life to criticize the injustice
To 87 years, Costa-Gavras still burns the sacred fire. This slayer of injustice, socio-political, rare filmmaker engaged with such greats as Loach, Leigh or the Dardenne continued his quest for equality with adult Conversation. His film focuses on the very serious debt crisis that is strangling the Greek people, in the coming to power of the left in 2015, hostile to the reforms suggested by the european authorities. The Sun has joined the legendary director at his parisian home where the COVID-19 did not alter his good mood, nor his verve as usual.
Q Your film has been presented at the Venice film Festival in 2019 and has seen a theatrical release in Europe last fall. Unfortunately, in North America, it will be available as video-on-demand (on may 22). It make you sorry?
R It is very sad. The films, it is necessary to see in a theater — it is essential. They have a different dimension when we see them at home or, even worse, on his phone.
Q We met in 2012 for The capital, your previous film. You said : “The world is increasingly led by large banks.” Do you believe that adult Conversation is the extension?
R , It is always about the money, which plays an important role in our societies. It was hoped that the european Union would make a lot more sense. Of course, the current situation has changed radically with [the pandemic]. But what remains are the banks and big trusts economic.
Q You have left Greece a long time ago, in the 1950s, but you had to feel challenged by this crisis that started in 2008. Is this the reason that convinced you to make this film?
R It is a part of the Greek people. The upper class has not suffered much, on the contrary. In my opinion, they are enriched further. While those who suffer, it is the small people and the middle class. The european Union has not addressed this huge problem. It has taken into account the survival of the banks [of the euro], etc
Q Your career is built on a work that denounces the injustices and takes a critical look at the institutions, while analyzing the impacts on individuals, precisely. Yet this time?
R , Of Course. We, especially my generation, we thought that with the european Union, a lot of social problems, cultural and educational would be solved. In any case, would have at least borrowed a good path. We see that once more, capitalism took over, and it is he who directs. Europe has become a kind of supermarket. Of course, where you can walk from one country to another easily, it has the same currency and no need for a passport. These are large facilities. But, at the same time, these facilities are only oriented toward the consumer. This is unacceptable. This is not how we dreamed of Europe, which could be exemplary for the whole world, including environmental. Especially that you can see what is happening in the United States with the stampede full of all these presidents of the absurd, which follow almost. There has been a good one, there, (laughter)…
Q To address the situation of the Greek crisis created by the intransigence of the european Union in general and Germany in particular, why have you chosen to adapt the book of Yánis Varoufákis, the ephemeral minister of Finance in 2015?
R Because it is a witness, Varoufákis. When the crisis started in Greece, I’m interested and, more importantly, how she would get out of it. And for years, I’ve read the articles, but we do not understand very well what was happening. Then Varoufákis and the left came to power and it was thought that things were going to change. And Varoufákis is gone [after five months]. One day, he has published a very long article that interested me a lot. I asked him if we could collaborate. He told me that he wrote a book. He has sent me as the chapters that he wrote and I said to myself : “there, there is a film”. Because it told the story from the inside. While what we knew, it was this one that told the other ministers [of the Eu] after the meetings. And it does not correspond to the situation. When I read this book, it was very clear what was happening there. However, there were no reports of meetings. This is why Varoufákis decided to save them. It is with these recordings that I have heard, that he wrote [Conversations between adults. Behind-the-scenes secret of Europe, 2017]. Without it, it was impossible to write such a scenario.
In front of the press, each said what he wanted. The only person who revealed the content of these meetings, it is [Christine] Lagarde, [the DG of the international monetary Fund from 2011 to 2019] when she said : “we need adults in this room”. Because he was saying things absurd, and that it does not lead to anything.