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»Tonight we burn your statues; for statues never bleed!»

22 Οκτ.

»WRONG SYDNEY», ©2011

a fiction feature movie script,

selected and officially presented at the script competition of the 2011 London Greek Film Festival.

christoskanlis@yahoo.com

TAGLINE

«For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong» (H.L. Mencken).

STORYLINE

An old man, in search of a family for his orphaned grandson. An anarchist/extremist young woman in search of molds to empty her hatred in. A taxi-driver, son of a policeman killed by terrorists, who is looking for revenge. Three anti-heroes, all desperate, until fate plays on them an unexpected game.

PLOT SUMMARY

Nikos(76), a former Australia migrant, loses his daughter and her husband on a car crash, and is left alone in a small provincial town, to take care of his grandson Christos(11).

Under the pressing feeling that he is running out of time, he decides one last trip to Australia, where his grandson will hopefully join the family of the only relatives they have left.

He is not counting on his granddaughter -and young Christos’ sister- Artemis(31), who -having left her home 12 years ago without ever giving a sign of life since– doesn’t even know of her brother’s existence. Artemis lives in Athens, leading a double life: during the day she is a failed artist and a pizza delivery driver and at night she is an extreme anarchist, playing hide-and-seek with law and order.

Her random acquaintance with Achilles(31), a lone hunter of the terrorists who killed his policeman father, and who of course hides his intentions, leads them to violent and paradox paths, where heroic acts are the only escape. The very last moment, consecutive hits, errors, and finally fate itself, will bring all characters together, leading them to decisions more heroic than their own desires.

SYNOPSIS – TREATMENT

Nikos(76), has been living in Konitsa, Epirus, ever since his return from Sydney, thirty years ago. He had migrated to Australia when he was 22, had married there, and had come back to Greece with his daughter Ria -then fifteen years old- after his wife was killed by a thunderbolt.

It had not taken long for Ria to get into an unhappy marriage with a drunkard, and have a child, Artemis(now 30). Artemis could not stand her dysfunctional family, and left them forever when, at the age of seventeen, her desire to go to Athens and study Fine Arts met her father’s fury and derision. After that, she never turned to look back, never got in touch with them again.

The following year, Ria gave birth to a boy, Chris (now 12) whose existence Artemis, a failed artist and an extremist anarchist living dangerously in Athens, ignores. Artemis now leads a double life:  During daytime she is called «Stephanie» and is a pizza deliverer, and at night she plays hide and seek with the police, always on her own.

Nick’s world falls apart when Ria and her husband get killed in a car crash leaving Chris an orphan. Being old and frail, and having no other relative to leave the kid except Artemis, who has not given any signs of life the past twelve years, Nick is anxious to make a decision about the boy’s future.

Despite the research and help provided by his friend -and village mayor- Dimos(65), it seems impossible to find Artemis. Growing more anxious and desperate, Nick decides that the only solution is to take Chris to Sydney, and leave him there with his cousin and her family who readily accept him. He sells his daughter’s house at Konitsa to secure the kid’s dowry and prepares to travel down under. Dimos’ secretary books their tickets; they’re for the 10th of December, two days, that is, before another massive general strike will paralyze Greece boiling like a cauldron about to explode.

One night, during savage street fights in Athens between right-wingers and anti-authoritarians, Artemis saves Achilles(30) from the hands of the police, and helps him escape, not realizing that he comes from the «opposite» side. Before they know it, a strange relationship begins to form between them.

Achilles is a conservative taxi driver with an ill mother, and an indifferent marriage, slowly drowning in loans and mortgages, the orphan child of a policeman who got killed years ago in a terrorist attack. Since then he’s been on the hunt to find the killers of his father amidst anti-authoritarian groups and their meeting points. That night’s misunderstanding offers him the perfect opportunity to enter this world as convincingly as possible. Unaware of the danger, he begins to follow Artemis in her night raids against any possible target.

One night, during an ambush with gas containers against a journalist’s jeep, a passer-by girl is accidentally injured.

Artemis -who had never faced before the consequences of a blind attack that tragically- collapses and decides to keep away from this kind of violence, searching for alternative ways to fight against the authority.

Achilles realizes that he has entered Artemis’ world deeper than he counted. He sees that a strong relationship of solidarity and sympathy has formed between them slowly and steadily, and he is no longer sure that he wants to continue lying to her.

Meanwhile, the problems in his own life gradually lead him to hate the same things as she does. Fearing that his taxi will provide evidence for the bombing of the jeep, he hides it in his country home garage. And while he is temporarily left without job, with various loans pressing, his mother –who got ill ever since his father’s death– re-enters hospital in a critical condition and his wife announces to him that she’s been laid off from her work.

In order to help him, Artemis robs a bank all by herself; despite his disgust and opposition to this, he finally accepts the money, and takes his mother to a first class private hospital.

Artemis conceives of a new way to fight against the system: she decides to attack and destroy statues and monuments of Greek history and civilization, aiming to «undermine the collective memory of society». Still shocked by the girl’s injury at the recent indiscriminate attack, she reasons that «statues don’t bleed». Achilles, though skeptical and in doubt about the whole idea, eventually follows her. His desperation arms him with courage and determination, as he has now completely forgotten the reason he first approached Artemis.

Their raids against statues make an impact on public opinion, and they realize that they will soon have to confront the consequences. They decide to make a «Last stand» into the National Museum and break some of its more prominent statues. They arrange to do this on the eve of the 12th December, the night before the big general strike, taking advantage of the tumultuous atmosphere the city will be in that night.

The morning of the 10th, Nick and Chris, loaded with luggage arrive at Athens airport. During check-in though, they discover that a gross mistake has been made, and their tickets are not for Sydney Australia, but for Sydney Canada.  Fortunately, there is a flight for the «right» Sydney the next night. They change their tickets, book a hotel in Athens for one night, happy they’ve been given the chance to visit the capital and its famous monuments.

At the same time, police brake into Artemis apartment, who however, has moved out just a few days ago.

Early next morning, Achilles goes to get the taxi from the village he was hiding it and bring it back to the city. Just an hour later, informed by a villager, police arrives at the same place, only to discover that the taxi is gone.

As Achilles arrives at a friend’s garage in the city, to hide the taxi, his wife calls, and tells him that his mother has just died probably due to some medical error.  The funeral is arranged for 6:00 p.m. on the same day.

Despite his devastation, and enraged with the doctor’s fatal carelessness, Achilles tells Artemis he doesn’t want them to cancel what they’ve planned for the evening. At the same time, police raids his home and arrests his wife just before the funeral.

Not knowing of this development Achilles attempts to go to the funeral, but when he arrives at the church, he realizes that it is surrounded by police waiting for him. While the funeral of his mother takes place, Achilles is chased by cops, eventually managing to escape, and return to the garage where his taxi is.

Meanwhile, Artemis, ready and «armed» is already out on the streets, joining protests launched by an angry and aggressive crowd.

As the evening falls, Nick and Chris, having completed their visit to the Acropolis, pass by the hotel, pick their luggage, and go to eat at a fast food restaurant until the time comes to leave for the airport. Their meal is interrupted by a violent attack by protestors who brake glasses and throw stones to the restaurant’s windows.  When the protestors at last go, Nick and Chris get out in the street looking for a taxi. In vain; Chaos reigns in the city center. Nick starts worrying that they might miss their flight, until Achilles driving his own taxi stops at a traffic light right in front of them.

A cop approaches Achilles for a routine check. Achilles evades the control, by pretending to be in a hurry to help the Old Man with the Boy not to miss their flight. Once away from the cop, he checks his watch; it’s 19:38 and his meeting time with Artemis is at 20:00.

At the same time, Artemis pops out of a group of protestors breaks the head of a statue and puts fire on it making the cops’ attack back on the whole group.  As night is falling, all the demonstrators get in the fight.

Artemis and some more protestors break in a department store. Artemis runs straight upstairs, comes out on the balcony, and drops down the huge banner with the lizard and a slogan saying: «Tonight your statues are burning- the ones that never bleed».

Achilles drives his taxi with the two unexpected customers through the burning city streets. He manages to reach Artemis at their meeting point on time, Artemis manages to get in the taxi, but she’s followed by a platoon of cops chasing her. Achilles speeds away and only then Artemis realizes that two more people are sitting in the back of the taxi. When everyone faces the outrageous game of fate, it’s a little too early; a new police road block stops them. As Achilles prepares to surrender, feeling that it is all over, Artemis – having recognized Nick – starts screaming to him to put forth the car and go. Achilles obeys shocked and a wild chase starts again.

Penultimate scene. Armed policemen, cars and bikes with their lights on have surrounded Achilles’ taxi in a dark narrow lane. But when they throw their lights on it, they only find Achilles and next to him, an old man, Nick. In the back of the car some of Artemis’ lizard paintings confirm that they found the terrorists they were looking for.

Last scene. While Achilles and Nick are arrested and handcuffed, at the other end of the street, two silhouettes dragging heavy suitcases walk away. It’s a woman and a child. They turn the street and disappear, without looking back.

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@for full script, please contact via email