Blue Monday Productions has boarded “Cora,” the feature directorial debut of visual artist and filmmaker Evi Kalogiropoulou, which was awarded at the Rotterdam Film Festival’s CineMart and the Cannes Cinefondation’s Atelier earlier this year.
“Cora” is the story of two working-class women fighting for freedom and their own identity against a dystopian patriarchal society. It follows the director’s short film, “Motorway 65,” which played in competition in Cannes last year.
Speaking to Variety at the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Kalogiropoulou said she drew inspiration for her feature debut during an artistic residency in the working-class town of Elefsina, where local women shared stories about the struggles they faced, especially as recent waves of immigration altered the social dynamic of the community. “For me the biggest question to explore is how it feels for a woman to be working and living in an area with so much contradiction and struggle,” she says.
“Cora” draws on ancient myths about strong, independent women who were symbols of emancipation, in order “to create a supernatural drama about the mystical powers hidden in a woman’s body, set against a masculine, gun-loving gang,” the director added. It will also allow her to explore what she described as “the long-hidden mystical feminist practices and traditions of the Balkans.”
“My family comes from Arcadia, where my grandmother still lives, an area of significant mystical background from antiquity,” she said. “My grandmother is a great inspiration for me, a symbol of woman empowerment and strength. She is always collecting strange herbs from the mountains and preparing drinks with them for our ‘defense’ against the evil eye.”
She described “Cora” as “a Balkan witch hunt where the love and solidarity between two women becomes both their curse and their power to challenge the dominant male status quo.”
“Cora” is produced by Amanda Livanou of Neda Film and co-produced by Bertrand Gore and Nathalie Mesuret of Blue Monday Productions, with the support of the Greek Film Center and Greek public broadcaster ERT. The film has also received development support from Onassis Culture and Creative Europe. “Cora” won CineMart’s Eurimages Co-Production Development Award and the ARTE Kino International/YouTube prize this year at the Cinefondation’s Atelier, a co-production forum hosted by the Cannes Film Festival.
Blue Monday’s recent productions include Leyla Bouzid’s Cannes Critics’ Week selection “A Tale of Love and Desire” and Léonor Serraille’s Cannes Camera d’Or winner “Jeune femme.” The company is also collaborating with Neda Film on “Broadway,” the debut feature by Christos Massalas, which is currently in post-production.
“We think ‘Cora’ is a very exciting project by a promising young female filmmaker,” said Gore and Mesuret. “With her short film, Evi Kalogiropoulou demonstrated a powerful, original visual style, and with ‘Cora’ she proposes a very personal universe, dealing with both post-modern and primitive themes, carried by very strong female characters.”