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12 Votes (3.5)
The Tree And The Swing (2012)
Το Δέντρο και η Κούνια (original title)
Fiction, 107 min
Production countries   Greece,Serbia
Languages   Greek,English,Serbian
Director   Maria Douza
Scriptwriter   Maria Douza
Plot keywords    
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Eleni, a successful professional woman of Greek origin lives and works in London, for the last fifteen years.  Kyriakos her father lives in Greece, the mayor of his native hometown. A refugee child in Serbia after the war who had to battle his way back home, Kyriakos has never forgiven Eleni for leaving her country.  One day, Eleni’s husband Harris loses his job in a big corporation and is posted to China indefinitely.  The prospect of a new uprooting prompts Eleni to make a “return” trip to her homeland.  Before embarking upon a distant journey, Eleni wants to bridge the distance between her and her father, but also give her daughter Anna  a “home” if she ever needs it.  On a deeper level though what she really needs is to find a way back “home” herself.   On the pretext of responding to one of her father’s calls she takes Anna and comes to Greece, for Easter holiday.  But when she reaches home nothing she finds is as she expects. A Serbian woman, Nina, is living with Kyriakos, looking after his big estate.  Kyriakos has been harbouring a few secrets of his own.  Set in the Greek countryside, the story interweaves present reality, and political history in a modern tale about the relentless movement of people, repentance, acceptance and love.
Film Updates
After a successful world opening at the 37th Montreal World Film Festival in August, where it was very warmly received, Maria Douza’s debut feature The Tree and the Swing packed the theatre in Athens at its European premiere at the 19th Athens International Film Festival in September. Following that, the film was shown in numerous festivals around the world (New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Goa, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Brussels) and is now opening in Athens on 6 February, by StradaFilms.

The Tree And The Swing has been bought by EastWest Filmdistribution GmbH, a film sales company based in Vienna, who will make it available for distributors and television channels worldwide under the title A Place Called Home, starting with a market screening in the EFM in Berlin on the 11 February at Cinemax 12 at 16.40.
Director's Statement

Based on a true story, The Tree and The Swing, recounts how three characters of the same family, after being separated for years (by force, desire or necessity), come together during an Easter holiday, in a homecoming that to each means something different.  Homecoming has been in the centre of Greek thought and culture from the times of Homer.  This is the country of Ulysses, the centre of a diaspora nation - ever migrating and ever returning.    

The film takes a modern view on this ancient theme exploring the notion of home, in the broader sense of the place to which we always return, whether in reality or in our dreams - our homeland, our family, our childhood.  In this contemporary family tale, the roles of the exile (usually man) and the person awaiting his return (usually wife) are consciously inverted to convey the new realities of a world marked by high and diverse mobility.   But reality itself is inverted; Greece from a country of a diaspora nation becomes a country hosting other diasporas.  For the last twenty years, the changes in Eastern Europe, the conflicts that raged the Balkans in the 1990’s, and the more recent wars in the Middle East have forced people to move West.  These new migrations, diasporas, and homecomings renegotiate the relation between mobility and the need of belonging.

Accepting dislocation as major part of the human experience The Tree and the Swing, which takes place over five days, transcends in essence six decades of Balkan and Greek history, during which people have seen the borders of their countries, as well as the borders of their lives being constantly redrawn.

I grew up in the seventies, at a time of little movement (migration had stopped and the borders of the world seemed fixed), and a lot of suspicion.  People traveled only for tourism, a few for studies, and that in the West.  In the East they were not allowed to travel at all.  This ended abruptly in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall (which we had believed would stand till the end of time).   Since then Western Europe, and Greece in particular, have seen a tremendous influx of Eastern people who have profoundly altered the character of native populations.

Now twenty years on, we realize that what at the time seemed to us momentous is just the permanent state of things, a state as old as history. People have always been moving whether by force, need or desire.  What has been changing every time is the circumstance.  The film sets out to explore how traditional notions of home and belonging are affected by the new circumstance of people’s movement, how the cultural heritage of our own diaspora can propagate a transnational perception of ourselves and the others.

In our efforts to realize this project we had had the good fortune to come across a Serbian team looking for an opportunity to collaborate with Greek film-makers, and initiate a long term creative relationship.  In my mind, this prospective collaboration of Greek and Serbian production companies is more than business.  It embodies the idea of the film, the belief that we can construct new alliances and community, and that we can live and work together in a truly pluralist world.   

    Maria Douza May 2012

Technical Specifications Image / Sound
Color / Black & White   Color
Sound format   Dolby Digital
Aspect ratio   1.85:1
Production format   HD
File type   4k
Camera   RED ONE
Distribution format   35mm
Production country
Official web site
» Cyprus International Film Festival 2014 Awards
» Cyprus International Film Festival 2014
» The Winners of the 11th San Francisco Greek Film Festival
» San Francisco Greek Film Festival 2014
» Hellenic Film Academy, 2014 Awards Nominations
» The Balkan presence at Belgrade FEST
» Belgrade International Film Festival 2014 - FEST
» The 20th DelphiBank Greek Film Festival in Australia, 31 October - 14 December 2013
» Athens International Film Festival Opening Nights 2013
Films of Maria Douza
The Tree And The Swing
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