Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Leipzig 2012

Comme des lions de pierre à l'entrée de la nuit

Like Stone Lions at the Gateway into Night
Wie steinerne Löwen am Eingang der Nacht
Directed by: 

The film is about so-called re-education camps on the Greek island of Makronissos in the Aegean Sea, where communist intellectuals were detained under degrading conditions from 1947 - 1951. Poetic texts by the internees, found in the cracks of the ruins, have now been reawakened to filmic life. With and in these texts, the prisoners kept their human dignity.
The film is shattering evidence of the courage and mental strength needed to resist a dictatorship of uniformed thinking; a document of gentle poetry against shouted slogans. Texts, touchingly spoken by voices of the past, break with our conceptions of a country that many know only as tourists.
Produced as a filmic essay in an excellent workmanlike fashion, "Comme des lions de pierre à l’entrée de la nuit" presents a stark contrast between a colourful postcard idyll on the image level and a documentation of abysmal powerlessness, deep hopes and lived courage on the sound level.
Perhaps it was necessary that more than 20 years had to pass after the fall of the Iron Curtain before these texts could unfold their deeply human message from a time of ideological polarization and instrumentalisation.
It does us here in Europe a lot of good to think about Greece as it is presented in this film.