The film titled ‘Like Stone Lions at Nightfall’ (original title: Comme des lions de pierre à l’entrée de la nuit) is constructed in three ceaselessly intertwined literary and pictorial spaces.
The story of the film dates back to 1947 and 1951 when the Greek government interned around 80,000 soldiers and civilians (men, women and children) for “communist activity”. They were forced to go through ’re-education programmes’ in order to get back “on the right track”, guided by the ideology of the extreme right-wing nationalist King Paul.
Numerous prisoners, including the famous poet Yannis Ritsos, wrote texts there, “poetry” that they buried inside bottles and managed to bring home from the camp. These texts fuel images of this barbaric laboratory which was set up specifically in order to facilitate the “mental reprogramming” of members of the communist resistance.
They will be brought together in a written script depicting the life and survival of this prison colony and the brain-washing techniques used there. This film will focus on the insight of these poems and images of the rocky ruins of what is left of the camp, recorded like “cinematic archaeological excavations”.
In addition to the poetic backbone of the film, there will be significant, highly aesthetic material – etchings, survivors’ accounts on the voice-over, military propaganda photos – which will be worked in to the project using sound and video techniques borrowed from experimental cinema.
The film is a co-production of Switzerland, Greece and France.