"Hold me"

Interview to Nestoras Poulakos

the story: a radio producer looses her father suddenly. In order to come to terms with this unexpected loss, she creates a website, to which listeners of her show send their own stories of loss. Later on she meets them and they share their stories through a game of touches. During these meetings, a man iss unexpectedly lost. Through the stories they all share between them, they manage to come to terms with their losses and to move forward in their lives with more strenth and optimism. So does also the heroine, Julia, who learns to make relationship in the present and to accept her past.

our comments: autobiographical film, with a poetic mood, emotional implications, and "loss" as its central theme. Lucia Rikaki in her latest cinematic essay plays with the image, the colors, the sounds. The editing is a catalytic component of the film, it is this instrument that gives it a transcendent dimension, which excite the viewer and keep him on the edge, with his heart pounding, the mind racing, the pulse beating. Above all, when watching "Hold Me", the mind is provoked to be involved with the issues of the protagonist of each scene, as well as of the main protagonist, Julia. It could be said that Rikaki's tone is too elaborate, pretentious, almost tries too hard for this result - and indeed such criticisms have been made by many. The only thing that is certain on the silver screen is her relaxed mood and the impulsive quality of result. The originality of the script, the 63 stories gathered from the internet, when the director opened the site www.holdme.gr and received texts from internet users, rank the film among the most interactive movies of recent years. Music plays a catalytic role in "Hold Me". The actor's performances are the film's weakness, and mostly, unfortunately, that the protagonist, Katerina Lypiridou, who essentially embodies the alter ego of Rikaki. I do not think she succeeds in catching the standards that the director obviously wanted. As regards the "game of touch", played by Rikaki both in the level of the script and on that of the direction, it is a personal choice that characterizes most of the work (e.g. her last short film "Our own pleasure").

the director: Rikaki presented in 2007 two new works as director, which put forth the familiar style of hers, as we had enjoyed before it in the “Quartet in Four Movements” and the “Daancing Soul”. Her experimental approach to the internet and the new digital medium shows a person who is open to changes. This mood is of course reinforced by her activity in the domain of stand-up comedy for 15 years, as well as the production of original documentaries (such as “The Other” and “The Aegean through the words of poets”). About her new film “Hold me”, she has talked to Nestoras Poulakos and to “Cine.gr”:

How would she characterize her film:

“Let's say it’s a film that uses modern media to talk about our primitive needs, and it’s a hybrid film in tone and in style, as it combines elements of fiction, documentary and essay writing, and perhaps it might prove that poetry and beauty have a place in every era, regardless of all the different grammars used for communication.”

About the scenario and the use of internet:

“At the initial stages of conception and realization of this film, I turned, through the internet, to the random visitor, who would like to take part in the creation of a film, without any level of censorship or selective process, in an absolutely democratic and egalitarian way, and who would mainly like to have a part in sharing an experience. […] Then, the stage of integrating these stories within the web of the fiction script was another interesting process, and it wasn’t so easy either, because it required us to adapt to a different grammar and to respect the identity and characteristics of each story by every different author, while we also had to maintain an alternation that would help the viewer, the reader, to follow the story. Of course this process wasn’t linear. […] In the stories we received there was some good writing and some genuine exposing, not the sort which we would call spam in the online community, we didn’t get any spam at all. I don’t know how this happened, maybe it was because in the site we explained quite clearly what we were going to do, and whoever entered the game, did so with honesty and determination.”

About her aesthetics and her gaze as a director:

“I have an aesthetic obsession with the construction of the image, the composition of the frame, the function of color and music. In “Hold Me” I believe I have made some progress stylistically as regards editing, to a somewhat less academic narrative; and fortunately so, because I find it boring; anyway, in the internet era we read and we understand things differently, more multifaceted.”

About the impressions it has left to her at the end:

“It has already offered me a lot of gifts. The most important of them was that it gave me the opportunity to meet the man who made me fall in love with all my heart, because he told me exactly this: ‘Hold me’.”

Source: http://www.cine.gr/article.asp?topic=Cine%C5%EB%EB%E7%ED%E9%EA%EF%ED&id=8281