In such films as “Z”(‘69), starring Jean Louis Trintignant and Yves Montant, a film about a judge attempting to uncover the truth of a mysterious death of a leftist politician, Costa-Gavras, a Greece born filmmaker working out of France, is a well- known auteur in his own right who has also received the Palm D’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival with “Missing”(’84) and the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival with “Music Box”(’89). Known for his social-political films made in the US and France, there has always been an element of suspense and entertainment. While his daughter Julie Gavras released her film “Blame it on Fidel”(’06), Costa-Gavras has shown his new film “Eden Is West” at the France Film Festival in Japan. As Elias, an illegal immigrant, jumps from a boat and swims to shore, he wades on to a beach of a resort called Eden. He immediately befriends a woman who rescues him from the guards and more than welcomes his company. As he travels north towards Paris, he encounters many others who show interest in him for different reasons. Some are nice and some are not, some will use him and some will not, but they all seem to deceive their first impression. On a social level, he is either invisible or not wanted, but on a personal level, he sometimes ends up helping others. The director turns from his usually more complex story structure to cater to a simple road trip of a young illegal immigrant who does not speak the language of the country he is in. Costa-Gavras himself has immigrated to France to attend college due to the political turmoil in Greece at the time, and somewhat seems to draw from his own experience. Here, the 76 year old director reveals to us, through his journey back to his youth, the very elements of his filmmaking.
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Since I have gone through the experience of immigrating to another country, I feel a strong connection to the situation and a personal interest. I also wished to show their situation in a different way from how they are being depicted now. Even though there are many films that deal with these immigrants, they may only show the tragic state they are in, and only to the extent where they are rejected by society. I wanted to do the opposite. I wanted to pay homage to the immigrants and to show that these people from other countries could play an important role in the society.
Another reason I made this film is to show this movement of the immigrants is not something that started recently. There will be more to come and at least in the next decade, we will be seeing more of this happen.
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