Mocking of Christ
Alexander Philipopolus, a famous journalist at a political magazin in Paris, in the days when his life is at a crossroads, his career is uncertain and his family and his marriage are being disrupted, receives a letter from his cousin Vani from Greece that his father Lazarus died in Macedonia. And everything is turning upside down! Alexander departs to his motherland Greece, goes in Athens, to investigate exactly what happened to his father, Lazarus, whom he does not even know at all. In Athens, Alexander will accidentally meet Andrea, a photojournalist who accidentally meets Alexander on the day when she violently ends her relationship with long-time mistress Nana.
He is a careful and deliberate mature man. However, the sorrow in his eyes immediately attracts Andrea. They travel togehter from Athens to Alexander’s birthplace, a small village situated in the vicinuty of the border with the neighboring state of Macedonia. Alexander returns to his homeland after more than twenty years, to find out what actually happened to his father Lazarus. He will face many truths and lies, which in that part of the world remained unresolved since the Greek Civil War in 1946. All this is suffering for Alexander, but for Andrea, the beautiful landscapes, the openness and warmth of the province and the exotic people and places she didn’t even know that exist in Greece represent a motivation for her get back to her quest of lost faces and stories – her photography passion, after a long periond of time. While Alexander struggles with his family and his birthplace, which is apparently divided into two groups – natives Macedonians and new-commers Greeks, Andrea enjoys the woderful moments filled with many “lost” faces. Alexander faces the fact that his family is deeply divided and with deteriorated relations. His mother Maria and her family are Greeks who have come from Turkey to the village of Lazar’s father, who belongs to the group of indigenous Macedonians who fought in the Second World War and the civil war in Greece on the side of the Communists who lost the war. His father Lazar, who is part of heroic tales well-known in the village (alike those for Alexander the Great), married his mother Marija despite the opposing of her family. Within only a couple of months of their marriage, at the end of the war, Lazar as a communist is forced to leave Marija who at that time is pregnant with Alexander, and departs to Russia and later situates in Yugoslavia, namley in Macedonia. Alexander grows up in Marija’s family where speaking about his father Lazar is strictly forbidden. In order to protect Alexander, Marija agrees with that. In high school, Alexander receives a scholarship and leaves for Paris where he makes a career as a journalist – political analyst. In his birthplace, Alexander comes into contact with a group of anarchists who are preparing terrorist attacks in order to draw attention to the Macedonian issue in Greece. The anarchists, driven by the heroic stories of his father Lazar, expect Alexander to join them. Alexander refuses and faces a terror. This is how his tragedy begins and the end of the journey that will take him to Skopje, Macedonia, where he will truly meet his father Lazar, whom everyone thinks is dead. Andrea will capture with her camera all the lost faces and stories she encounters in Greece and Macedonia, including the personality and story of Alexander in whom she will fall in love. Andrea will give birth to Alexander’s child, following his tragic death. Alexander dies crucified like Jesus Christ on a billboard that advertises the European road leading from Rome to the West to Istanbul in the East, splitting Macedonia in two.
“Mocking of Christ” is a movie about people which are searching for their identity. A story about the fear from what they can discover from that search. It’s a movie about the people who are not ready to face the truth they dreamed about, so at the end they end up even more disappointed than they were. On the Balkan is even crueler. They deny each other’s rights to believe in their own lies. And they enter a magic circle of each other’s accusations for stealing something that realistically only exists in their collective minds. Or today just in their ancestors’ memory born on at the end of the 19th or at the beginning of the 20th century. “Mocking of Christ” is a movie about the search of our own spirituality. A fight for the right to believe in something immaterial. At the end this is a story about the essential need to define what we are? Who gets to decide that? God? The history? The community? The state? The nation? It’s not less important that this is the story that I’m living today, here and now. I come from a family of ethnically different parents Greek and Macedonians and since I can remember I can’t think of a family sacrament, engagement, wedding or funeral which didn’t end with nervous men in a decent age asking each other: who are you the Greeks and who are we the Macedonians, and the opposite. I’ve spent a part of my life living in Greece but now I live in Macedonia. I was asked to be mobilized in the military police in the summer of 2001, when shortly but tragically we “fight” Albanians against Macedonians. At the end my characters’ dilemma are not only my own. With some of them I met and with others I crossed paths. But with some of them I still live in real life. Everyone against each other- God against everyone! In that way in the movie Yon defines the problem with the Balkan and the Balkans. Does this story happens in reality? Yes. Does this problem exists? Yes. Can it be solved? I don’t know. Why does this movie matters to me? Art cannot change the world. What do I want to achieve? I want to tell you a story. It’s real, believe in it.