Mon, 21 Oct 2013 07:00:00 GMT | By PTI

You have to fight for your film: Costa-Gavras

Filmmaker Costa-Gavras talks about 1969 classic 'Z', Indian cinema and his filmmaking concerns.


You have to fight for your film: Costa-Gavras (© Reuters)

Mumbai: For his fans outside France, Costa-Gavras is synonymous with 'Z' which exposed the military dictatorship in his birth country Greece at that time, but the legendary filmmaker believes the power equations are much more complex today.

The 80-year-old Greek filmmaker, behind classics like 'Missing', 'The Confession', 'State of Siege', 'Amen' and most recently 'Capital', was feted at the ongoing Mumbai Film Festival with a Lifetime Achievement Award. This is his second trip to India.

Even during an interview, Gavras is constantly interrupted by autograph and photograph seekers, and smiles when he is told that India had its own version of Vassilis Vassilikos 1966 novel in Dibakar Banerjee's 'Shanghai'.

"Oh, yes I have heard about it," he says.

Gavras recalls how he came to adapt the novel, a fictionalised account of the events surrounding the murder of Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963. Shot in a documentary style thriller, 'Z' deals with the military dictatorship that ruled Greece.

"You have to fight for your film because people get scared when it is not the usual story. While making 'Z' I was looking for money and mind you it had some of the biggest stars but they said there is no main character, no love story, there are too many people.

"The story had very anti-cinema characteristics so they thought it could not be made. I too thought that it would not be very successful but I was compelled to make the story," Gavras told us in an interview.

'Z', however, astounded everyone by not only becoming a huge success but also winning top awards including the Best Foreign Oscar.

"We were surprised to see that the audience followed completely. Initially, very few people turned up but slowly more people started to come and it lasted in Paris for 45 weeks. You have to trust your audience and show them something difficult and hope that they still follow it," he adds.

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