Just Another Confused Elephant
Just. Another. Confused. Elephant.
I always believed those who said that people, if not societies, leave their traces in the fine print of the press: a trace that is almost independent from the momentous headlines of the front page. My hero belongs in 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, which in this day and age may be the only survival code we've got. His adventures – real or imagined – are the minimum that one would live through is the circumstances he got himself into, like he did. The only thing that was absolutely his own 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 have much in common. Lonely and scared and confused, in a world where the law of the jungle prevails, they can turn, almost overnight, into killers 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 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”. A contemporary fairy tale with the hero’s name – a modern Oliver Twist- as its title. They call him Jace, he is an 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 the face of true love and the dream of a family, as he must protect her and her child from the same gangs that have been chasing him since he was a little boy.
Twice-orphaned J.a.c.e, 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 ruthless gangsters who “export” children abroad for various profitable reasons (ranging from beggary to organ trade). Jace ends up in Athens, Greece, begging on 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 for a love that will become his homeland.
A film by MENELAOS KARAMAGHIOLIS PAUSILYPON FILMS, GREEK FILM CENTER, E.R.T. S.A., and NOVA with the support of EURIMAGES
written by MENELAOS KARAMAGHIOLIS in collaboration with NICOLAS PANOUTSOPOULOS
produced by MENELAOS KARAMAGHIOLIS, FENIA COSSOVITSA
director of photography: GEORGE FRENTZOS
production designer: ELIAS LEDAKIS
editors: TAKIS YANNOPOULOS, LAMBIS CHARALAMBIDIS, PANOS DAOULTZIS
music by CHRIS DELIGIANNIS
sound: MARINOS ATHANASOPOULOS
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
casting: BEATRICE KRUGER, SOTIRIA MARINI, SOFIA DIMOPOULOU – READY2CAST, SUE JONES, MAKIS GAZIS, HARIKA HUGUR
A co-production of UKBAR FILMES, GEYZER FILM, PI FILM, BLONDE S.A., GRAAL S.A., CL PRODUCTIONS, FILMES FUNDO, KALIBER FILM
co-producers: PANDORA DA CUHNA TELLES, CEYDA TUFAN, ZORAN RISTESKI, METE GUMURHAN, COSTAS LAMBROPOULOS, KATERINA IKONOMOU
“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”