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The monumental communist symbols in Eastern Europe October 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life, Movies Life Greek.

ceausescu_palace_bucharest.jpg  Ceausescu’s Palace in Bucharest, one of the world’s biggest buildings, today houses Romania’s Parliament.

The First Chalkida Greek Documentary Festival is about to host a journey through communist monuments from Berlin to Athens. Antonis Pitsios and Christos Varvantakis’s “Symbols in Transition” will be screened today, in the Panorama section.

The 71-minute documentary is mostly in English and also in German with English and Greek subtitles. It covers Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia. “The documentary explores the fate of the symbols of the communist regime in Eastern Europe. The focus is always on Berlin’s Palast der Republik and we try to draw parallels with similar cases in other countries. We received no funding and paid for it all ourselves. That is why the translation is not very good and the lack of money is obvious, but we think that the content is worthwhile,” said 26-year-old Pitsios, who did a postgraduate course on East European studies in Berlin.

The documentary features the views of academics, architects, researchers and artists, who talk about the transition from one system to another. The decision to tear down the Palast der Republik, which has supporters and opponents, raises issues of historic legacy.

“We talked to many people and have much unused footage,” said Pitsios. There are people who spent their youth in a communist country, but also people who have never had that experience. The film passes no judgment or guidance. It focuses on people’s feelings and wonders how much yesterday’s symbols are useful or necessary today.

The First Chalkida Greek Documentary Festival will run to Sunday. The festival is taking place at the Papadimitriou Theater in Chalkida. For information, tel 22210 28001.

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