Athens – Asteris Kutulas is a famous Greek artist, who lives and works for over 30 years in Berlin. He studied German Philology and History of Philosophy at the University of Leipzig. He translated in German many works of widely-known Greek writers, such as Konstantinos Kavafis, Giorgos Seferis, Nikos Engonopoulos, Yannis Ritsos and Odysseus Elytis.
In 1980 he began his cooperation with Mikis Theodorakis, during which Kutulas produced about 30 CDs with Theodorakis music and organized over 100 concerts worldwide. Since early 90’s, he has organized a lot of music productions of Greek artists in Europe (Maria Farantouri, George Dalaras, Demis Roussos, Elli Paspala, Alkistis Protopsalti etc.) and took part in organizing concerts of worldwide famous stars, such as Mercedes Sosa, Scorpions, Sting, Milva, Ömer Zülfü Livaneli etc.
Asteris Kutulas is also the director and founder of the first Greek Film Festival which will take place this year in Germany and aims at the spread of Greek cinema in Germany, as well as the enhancement of Greek-German relations through Art.
The reason behind this interview in L’Indro is, first of all, the new film “Dance Fight Love Die – With Mikis on the road” about composer Mikis Theodorakis. A second subject of the interview is the reasonable, political opinion of Kutulas about Germans’ view on the new Greek government of SYRIZA, the German opinion about Greeks, as well as the attempt of organizing the first Greek Film Festival in Germany.
You have been good, old friends and partners with the worldwide known composer and creator of famous “ZORBAS”, Mikis Theodorakis. As a director, you now make the attempt of introducing his work in a new way. Which is exactly this kind of initiative?
I have been working with Mikis for 35 years. We are friends and partners since 1980, when I was still in East Germany. My new work is a film titled “Dance Fight Love Die – With Mikis on the road” and starts with moments behind the scenes during our concerts around the world. The basis of the film is 60 different kinds of Mikis’s music.
So, try to picture several frames from 1987 till today coming from rehearsals, concerts, recordings, opera and ballet productions, as well as personal meetings. It is film material in unedited form; an illustrated treasure with a duration of about 600 hours, documenting exciting moments from the life of a charismatic artist. All this will become a 90-minute-film including 60 different kinds of music and 60 small stories. Mikis himself has already watched a part of the film and is excited about it.
It will be an authentic, whole-view perspective on the world of the composer and “anarchist” Mikis Theodorakis. You will get to know Mikis the European, the famous artist, as well as our own Mikis the Greek. In the film you can listen to different kinds of music, such as opera, classical music, folk music, symphonic music, chamber music, jazz etc. It’s the first time that such a film is produced about an artist and we believe that the first rough cut will be ready till July, as gift for Mikis’s birthday.
Nowadays there are several political matters between Greece and Germany. As far as society is concerned, what is the level of this relationship between the two countries and how do you believe that these matters should be treated?
Most Germans, educated or not, have been under a brainwash by some politicians and a great part of media. We are stigmatized as the “bankrupt Greeks”. They shout “Sell Acropolis!” or “You have given nothing cultural to the world in the last two centuries” etc. It’s the first time that German journalists and politicians treat a whole nation in a racist way. Media do not ever blame “Greek politicians” or “Greek oligarchs”, but “Greeks” in general.
There are a few Greeks in Germany being verbally attacked. A German guy once told me: “Can’t you Greeks be quiet for once? We will send you tanks, if you continue acting like that!”. The Greek Ambassador here in Berlin told me recently: “Mr. Kutulas, we are receiving threatening phone calls and insulting letters all the time. They have even told us they will kill us”. Several German politicians invited in talk shows say that Germany has given us money, while they know very well that their country has already earned billions thanks to the Greek crisis.
Of course, on another level, we do the same thing in Greece, when we call Mrs. Merkel or Mr. Schäuble Nazis. That’s unacceptable, because we are the most responsible ones for this bad situation. We Greeks have been voting for the wrong politicians for years and gave the rights to the Europeans to treat us like that.
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