Which way to go when futures are insecure and a crisis blocks your view. Picture by Mike Wilson.
I spent roughly two weeks in Greece last year, filming a documentary. The idea was to capture stories of young adults of what they’d been facing these past couple of years that we came to calling crisis. What resulted from filming is a 40-minute documentary with talking heads on the topic. But the outcome for me is much more than an answer to the question we’d asked. Its the start of a journey of getting to known people of my age.
I think our film answers this question of “what happened” and “how does it feel” in its own way. The story I am trying to tell here is a different one, though. It has much more to do with the reactions we received for showing the film. The discussion I’ve had with audiences and friends who’d asked questions.
The film shows six young people between 22 and 26 years old and in many ways they reflect on their situation. When we showed the film in Berlin, someone afterwards asked: “What’s the big deal? All of what the people in your film said could have been young people from Berlin-Kreuzberg.” I was first taken aback and figured after all the work that had flown into this, there was no story we were telling. But thats not what I think is true.
The story this film is telling, lays underneath all those statements that are made throughout the film. In a way the story the film tells is exactly what this guy in Berlin said:
“Look at us, we are the same as so many young people in Europe and probably world-wide. We are insecure about our futures, we are highly educated, we worry about how to fit in and never want to fit in, we try to find our ways, and we keep telling ourselves to do something that makes us happy.”
A scene from the film: Interviewing with Irini on hill of philopappou.
Irini — one of our interview partners actually said just that in the film. She has a job that pays for her expenses. But that’s not what she’d been looking for. Before the crisis her parents, her teachers and everyone else kept telling her: “You can be and do whatever you want!” And the crisis suddenly revealed that to be a lie. The crisis in a nutshell for these young people was a rupture into a system of believes, emotions and feelings of how the world works and what the future would bring.
And it is this theme that interests me. This theme of “a young generation” that is insecure but highly emotional, that in Greece got a mean slap in the face.
This film gave me the opportunity to meet people my age whom I didn’t know before and then ask them personal questions on what happened. And we recorded all of those conversations. And I watched them again and again while cutting. And we as the filming team constructed a narrative from all of those singular stories. And then we opened up discourse on the topic to a public.
This film gave me the opportunity to speak with and listen about my generation. Its a form of dialogue that I am missing so far.