Just Another Confused Elephant
Just. Another. Confused. Elephant.
I always believed those who say that people, maybe societies as well, leave their traces in the small columns of the press: a trace that is almost independent from the momentous headlines. My hero belongs to the margin of the news. It doesn't matter whether I met or imagined him. I gave him a name (J.a.c.e.) that proves his absolute anonymity. I also gave him a different language that may be the only survival code today. His adventures – real or imagined – are the minimum adventures that he could live where he got himself involved. The only thing he got was his need for a love that would shelter him and a country. I let him choose where he belonged.
Little orphan elephants and little orphan boys may have much in common. As they find themselves, all of a sudden, lonely and scared and confused, in a world where the law of the jungle prevails, they can turn, almost overnight, into criminals or victims. I saw in the fate of both animal and human children a common pattern that was intriguing, if not deeply moving, and that is what made me want to tell their story. My hero, J.a.c.e., “just another” anonymous orphan, will have to wander through the circuses and the jungles of Athens, until he finds some sort of identity and a sanctuary of his own.
“J.A.C.E.” is the second feature film by Karamaghiolis, after “Black Out p.s. Red Out”. It’s a modern fairy tale; The hero, a today’s Oliver Twist, gives his name to the title of the film. His name is Jace, he is orphan and his life is an inverted “noir” Odyssey. Chased down since he was seven years old and without any identity, he will find in Maria true love and the dream for a family, as he has to protect her and her child from the same gangs that have been chasing hhim since he was a little boy.
Twice-orphaned Jace, a seven-year-old Albanian of Greek origin, witnesses a massacre that wipes out his entire foster family in Argyrokastron, and then falls in the hands of a bunch of ruthless gangsters who “export” children abroad for various profitable reasons (ranging from beggary to organ trade). Jace ends up in Athens, Greece, begging at street corners, exploring the secret horrors of brutal institutions for young offenders or, much later, serving obscure patrons, in an underworld where violent loss seems to be his only destiny. The movie follows Jace’s inverted Odyssey in a dark universe of abuse, murder and fear, as he desperately (and silently) seeks for a “family” of his own or, at least, for a sense of belonging.
A film by MENELAOS KARAMAGHIOLIS PAUSILYPON FILMS, GREEK FILM CENTER, E.R.T. S.A., and NOVA with the support of EURIMAGES present J.A.C.E. A co-production of UKBAR FILMES, GEYZER FILM, PI FILM, BLONDE S.A., GRAAL S.A., CL PRODUCTIONS, FILMES FUNDO, KALIBER FILM with ALBAN UKAJ, STEFANIA GOULIOTI, ARGYRIS XAFIS, IERONYMOS KALETSANOS, MINAS HATZISAVVAS, KORA KARVOUNI, AKYLLAS, KARAZISSIS, YANNIS TSORTEKIS, DIOGO INFANTE, CHRISTOS LOULIS, FRANCO TREVISI, REFET ABAZI, YORGOS MELLOS, and SOMA BADEKAS music by CHRIS DELIGIANNIS director of photography GEORGE FRENTZOS, editors TAKIS YANNOPOULOS, LAMBIS CHARALAMBIDIS, PANOS DAOULTZIS, production designer ELIAS LEDAKIS sound MARINOS ATHANASOPOULOS casting BEATRICE KRUGER, SOTIRIA MARINI, SOFIA DIMOPOULOU – READY2CAST, SUE JONES, MAKIS GAZIS, HARIKA HUGUR coproducers PANDORA DA CUHNA TELLES, CEYDA TUFAN, ZORAN RISTESKI, METE GUMURHAN, COSTAS LAMBROPOULOS, KATERINA IKONOMOU, produced by MENELAOS KARAMAGHIOLIS, FENIA COSSOVITSA written by MENELAOS KARAMAGHIOLIS in collaboration with NICOLAS PANOUTSOPOULOS directed by MENELAOS KARAMAGHIOLIS
“This is a contemporary Ulysses, without heroism and without a lover awaiting his return. The style of directing adopts all the elements of the epic, making the film a landmark in the postmodern.”
Samir FARID, consultant for Cinema affairs in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina “Al AHRAM WEEKLY”
“J.A.C.E. is the biggest find of this year’s Competition lineup!”,
Shigeki KOGA, NIHON KEIZAI SHINBUN (Japanese newspaper) for the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival
“…A film where the protagonist does not speak, needs skilled script-writing techniques and actor’s direction. This excellent work is perfect in both of these aspects and is completed to be a black entertainment which does not feel like a 142 min film…”,
KOYORI SUZUKI, WWWW.EIGATO.COM
“Karamanghiolis crafts a politically charged story of challenging density”.
Joseph PROIMAKIS, CINEUROPA.ORG
“…pure cinematic experience, totally exhilarating and different in terms of film aesthetics and cinematography, delusional, full of emotions, brutally beautiful, sensual, erotic and ironic, but still a crystal clear fairy-tale, J.A.C.E. is” – “The most beautiful, by far, Greek film of the past years…”
Tasos THEODOROPOULOS “IEFIMERIDA.GR”, “DOWNTOWN”, “METROPOLIS FREE PRESS”
“The constant twists and the parallel storylines of the characters’ actions are intertwined so wonderfully with a tight filming, the well-chosen cast and a good choice of places. It all ties in an extremely satisfactory result”
Adam ADAMOPOULOS, Assistant Professor of Democritus University of Thrace “CAMERA STYLO ONLINE”
“J.A.C.E.: At last, a European movie that dares to speak of a western society taboo, the memory of reality that is”
Tellos FILIS “SEVEN FILM GALLERY”
“J.A.C.E. is a wide shut but charming film, that combines many types of poetry and grafts its existing twists”
Orestis ANDREADAKIS “CINEMA MAGAZINE”