This is just a quick note to announce Letter to Ariadne #1: From Preston to Peristeri, a short film-letter that was shot on 30 June 2015 in Preston, England, and which takes the form of a letter from its maker to Ariadne, the maker’s one-year old niece.
From Preston to Peristeri was made ahead of the referendum in Greece on 5 July 2015 regarding whether to accept the bailout conditions proposed on 25 June 2015 by the so-called Troika of the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) to help Greece out of its current debt crisis.
Although the referendum is concerned with a choice made by the people of Greece, a refusal to accept the bailout conditions could/would effectively involve Greece’s exit from the European Union, which in turn might affect the future of that organisation, of the currency that many of its member states use, the euro, and of Europe itself. This in turn might affect geopolitics in a considerable fashion.
When the letter asks Ariadne to consider not excluding Greece, the idea is not to deny that Greece can and will take its destiny into its own hands. However, it is to ask Ariadne to consider the root of the Greek debt crisis, which to the best of the filmmaker’s understanding involves a role played by the richer countries in Europe, namely those which have most influence over the afore-mentioned Troika, both in the creation of debt and in the perpetuation of debt in Greece through its proposed bailout conditions – a debt that would through interest be greater than Greece’s entire GDP (i.e. unpayable).
Let us be clear. Greece borrowed money beyond its means, but those who lent it also were not checking with any particular care about whether those loans were sound. Here’s some free money, someone says to you. What? You mean, I can have that money and thus lead a life a bit more like yours, or at least what I perceive yours to be? Or more simply: what? You mean I can use this money in order to lead an easier life? Who would not say yes to such a tempting tibi dabo?
Families fall apart and what family is or means changes over time. Nonetheless, in a Union, we should support each other. This is the principle of Union. But when the Union is built upon mutual greed, exploitation and economic subjugation that is sold as economic liberation, then this seems less like a Union and more like use and the treating of the other as an object, as a means to an end, and not as an end in itself.
The human cost is great: unemployment, depression, suicide and the turn to extremism in desperation. Another place hollowed out for the purposes of profit. Humans are weak, but we should not hate each other for this.
So, in effect, the film asks Ariadne to consider never to exclude anyone from her life and to whom she owes many things just because they are perceived as being or materially are more poor than she. It also asks her never to perpetuate the perceived or material poverty of others.
The filmmaker hopes that the film does not come across as condescending, especially to the people of Preston and Greece, not least because he uses images of the former to frame discussions of the latter. He surely has grasped imperfectly the condition of Preston in the contemporary world, but on 30 June 2015, Preston posed for him in the fashion that features in this film-letter.
Although the filmmaker does not mention Peristeri in the letter, he likes the idea that a place in Athens might signify a dove (Περιστέρι/Peristeri means pigeon or dove in Greek), and thus by extension peace. May peace reign both in Preston and in Peristeri.
The music that features in the film is by David Miller.
Apologies for the quality of the sound recording on the voice over; the maker only had his laptop with him at the time of making the film.