Lucia Rikaki: Sensitivity and Generosity
K. Terzis, Avgi
There have been very few people in the Greek cinema who possessed the energy, the zest for work, the efficiency and also the generosity of Lucia Rikaki to whom we bid farewell on Friday.
This exceptionally energetic woman, with profound sensitivity and distinct social values, managed to set up "from scratch" two very successful international cinema festivals in the last few years: "Ecofilms", devoted to environmental films, in Rhodes, and "Hippokratis", the unique worldwide International Health Film Festival, in Kos. Unfortunately, her early death leaves them both in abeyance.
In early March 2011, just before she was taken ill by the disease that would force her into her final battle, we invited her to a workshop dedicated to Greek cinema that was organised by the Cultural Department of the Coalition Party "Synaspismos". She talked enthusiastically about the "cultural resistance" she was putting up by distributing her own films and organising viewings in schools and clubs as well as online presentations and communication. "I'm not prepared to be suffocated by the present distribution system in Greece, so I strive to work my way through the gaps. I respond to every request, no matter where it comes from. I whiz around the country like a spinning top, meeting the people who ask to see the films and talking with them. I enjoy the way a film "becomes alive and starts breathing" when it comes into contact with the audience. I don't get rich in money, but I do get rich in life..."
She braved her illness with the same courage and sense of humour. When she was diagnosed with a brain tumour, she talked about a "little pink cloud" which she saw as grey, but at the same time she drew hope from her friends who wrote in their messages to her that "no cloud lasts forever".
She was born in Piraeus in 1961 and studied History of Art, Cinema, Graphic Arts, and Photography at the Dartington College of Arts in the UK. She first worked at the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg, and then at the Danish Ministry of the Environment as Education Programmes Manager. She returned to Greece in 1982, created a production company, and worked in cinema, theatre and television. She was the producer of arguably the best arts programme in the history of Greek television ("Chromata" / "Colours") as well as the founder and director of the "104 Art Theatre Stage". She was also the person who brought stand-up comedy to Greece. In 1990 she directed her first feature film, Trip to Australia. Four years later, the erotic love film Quartet in Four Movements, with Giorgos Horafas and Themis Bazaka, was impressively well-received. It was followed by the Dancing Soul (1998) and the documentaries Comedy Nights (2001), The Aegean in the Words of the Poets (2003) and The Other (2004). In a way, Lucia fought against her talent for documentaries and only in the last few years did she seem to have come to terms with it. She was particularly concerned with education as witnessed, among others, by her documentary Dreams in Another Language, her next to last work, where she elegantly records life in a school in Nicosia and the coexistence of children from different countries. Her last film was the documentary Salvation Plan, which presented the artistic interventions in the Sotiria Hospital of Athens, where she was treated in the last months of her life.
In June 2009 I talked with her on the occasion of the 9th Ecofilms Festival that she was organising in Rhodes at the time. I asked her what the criteria for selecting the films were, as it was clear that the hosted films were not strictly "ecological", their main attribute being a focus on human relationships, the struggle for survival, and social references... I keep her answer to remind me of the sensitive and tender Lucia: "It takes an open soul to feel the emotion within the films. We select films that can talk to the soul and that consider the viewer an astute interlocutor. We need to change the quality of our life as well as our moral and aesthetic orientation..."
Source: Avgi Newspaper (last update: 05-20-2014) - in Greek
Republished (in Greek) at: tsakthan | Political science, sociology, movies, literature and other stuff