July 2014

"Sto spiti - At Home"

by Athanasios Karanikolas; opens September 04, 2014

Photos: © J.M. Louis / SHNP3

For many years, Nadja has worked as a housekeeper for an upper class Greek couple and their daughter. She’s allowed to feel like part of the family. When she’s diagnosed with a serious illness, and the man of the house runs into financial difficulties due to the economic crisis, Nadja loses her job. Yet she shows no external sign of how these two traumatic events have affected her. A film of dazzling light. The misery is not apparent in the images. It’s summer, the air shimmers, the sea sparkles. Only gradually is the set-up revealed: clear distinctions exist between top and bottom, domestic and foreign, those with and those without health insurance. Yet for Nadja class is not even a question, just as she does not fight for her rights. She keeps a tight hold on her feelings, insisting not on her job but on her emotional ties. Stylised, yet with the real world in its sights, the film draws on elegant CinemaScope images and depictions of space to tell the story of a quiet heroine feeling the social chill in the style of a tender melodrama. No big close-ups, no big emotional outbursts, still great cinema. (Forum catalogue, Birgit Kohler)


Athanasios Karanikolas was born in 1967 in Thessaloniki, Greece. He studied photography at the New School for Social Research and at Parsons School of Design, both in New York. He then studied video and media art at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf, as well as directing at the University of Film and Television “Konrad Wolf” in Potsdam-Babelsberg. In 2000, he shot his first short film "The Forest" and in 2007, he made his first feature-length film "Elli Makra, 42277 Wuppertal". Along with his work as a filmmaker, Karanikolas also teaches at various universities as well as directing for the theatre.

The director about his film
A dignified heart
"Purity of heart is to will one thing." (Sören Kierkegaard)

The basic dilemma of the film was born from a dispute about ethics. The actual story is invented and came from a personal wish to create an inspiring film character. I had a simple human being in mind, one who could offer another perspective on the issue of social injustice; just someone who, having suddenly found herself in a painful, unfair situation, would also find the strength to retaliate in a positive way. I created a figure who, believing in selfless love, would consciously decide not take the path of revenge or even compensation of any sort but to forgive. For some reason unknown to me, this simply had to be a woman, a female immigrant far away from home. Sto spiti is not the story of a well-off couple that treat their devoted housemaid badly. It is the story of a human being who is simple, pure and strong, the story of a dignified heart that wants only one thing.

"Sto spiti - At Home"
Land/Year: Greece, D 2014. Format: DCP, BluRay, colour. Length: 103 min. Language: Griechisch, Georgisch. Version: German subtitles. Director, Author: Athanasios Karanikolas. Camera: Johannes M. Louis. Sound: Valentin Finke, Johannes Schmelzer-Ziringer. Sound design: Manuel Meichsner. Editor: Monika Weber, Lorna Hoefler Steffen. Producer: Lasse Scharpen (SHPN3 Filmproduktion), Argyris Papadimitropoulos (Oxymoron Film). Production: SHPN3 Filmproduktion, Berlin (Deutschland); Oxymoron Film, Athen (Griechenland); ZDF – Das kleine Fernsehspiel,  Lucas Schmidt, Mainz (Deutschland). Actors: Maria Kallimani (Nadja), Marisha Triantafyllidou (Evi), Alexandros Logothetis (Stefanos), Zoi Asimaki (Iris), Giannis Tsortekis (Markos), Ieronimus Kaletsanos (Dimitris), Nefeli Kouri (Katerina), Alexia Kaltsiki (Dora), Nikos Georgakis (Alexis), Romanna Lobach (Tania). World Premier: February 10, 2014, Berlinale Forum.