Ana Kokkinos, a Melbourne born director of greek origin, was awarded the Best Screenplay award at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain earlier this month. Her new film “Blessed” was what won her the award, and according to viewers, justifiably. The audience was thrilled both and taken aback by the apparent realism and emotional content of the film, which centred on the God – given bond between mothers and their children.
“The thing that really got me was … the idea that this mother talks about her children as blessings- the idea that every child is a mother’s blessing…The core idea being that whatever s**t ‘s going down the kinda primal powerful connection in between mothers and children is kinda undeniable, sort of unbreakable..” Ana explains.
This is not a typical happy-end movie, the kind that are made in Hollywood; it movingly depicts people living on the edge, both mothers and kids and portrays their survival methods following various upheavals in their lives.
“.. it was becoming a very fascinating exploration of motherhood as well…What we discover through the course of the film is that the mothers are as vulnerable as the kids that they care for – that was a powerful, universal idea..”
Universality is a characteristic of her films that might come easier to Ana, as someone who is of a multicultural background and having dealt with “taboo” issues such as tasting homosexuality and teenage- parent relations.
At 51, Ana is considered a cult filmaker of the Australian scene, whose folio of work includes the 50-minute drama Only the Brave and feature films Head On, a raw description of a young person’s journey in the unknown to him “sinful” world and the lesser known, The Book of Revelation.
“.. I don’t see [Blessed] as a dark film, I see it as a profoundly resonant film really speaking to us on a very contemporary level; that has great beauty in it, great joy in it, but also has great truth in it and my guiding light in some way is being truthful & honest…”
Ana not only shot “Hands On” hand held , but also “Blessed” “ ‘cos it gives a sort of an intimacy with the characters but at the same time we worked hard at giving each frame a certain richness, a kinda beauty; the colours of the film are very thought through. We worked through colours of the flame, the blues, the oranges, the golden moments in the film, the way in which we lovingly caress the characters with the camera and then from intimate spaces to beautiful shots of the landscape (the worlds that the characters inhabite).”
“I wanted the film to have a certain kind of visual beauty. So an audience would feel on some level that despite the complex emotions that we travel with with all these characters, the filmaker (me) and my collaborators are coming to these characters from a place of love and compassion and sympathy and understanding.”
Sources: youtube, imdb.com, thecia.com.au