Somewhere on Lemnos island, one summer evening, three young men meet up to feel the "high" of several "Hasiklidikas", Rebetiko songs which celebrate the effect of hashish and an idea of freedom beyond the violence and suffering from exile.
Don’t Rush invites us into a smoky room to take the time to listen to Giannis’ programme on rebetiko, a music that came out of the poor suburbs of Athens in the 1910s, composed by Greeks returning from their exile in Turkey. The young man’s voice speaks out from a room whose exit and precise layout are never seen. The voice explains the music with stories, blanketing them in hashish smoke clouds. In the room, a young boy is sleeping, another in the corner listening. The listeners are filmed from all possible angles. The film is hazy, the men living there appear and disappear among fragments of bodies, reflections, shadows. The thread of continuity is that of the voices and music. The rebetiko playing is not tame, the songs speak of love, departures, addicts, cops, sabotages, and the radio pirates recognise themselves. Living free, loving, smoking, even if it borders on illegality. The words match every context. Giannis’ context is particular. There is Athens, which he sometimes forgets to visit, and soon there will be a court case. Then there are these men and women trying to reach here but who are prevented from entering. Today’s refugees, they may have another rebetiko under their coat. The stories of singers are theirs. Hanging around, taking time, hashish slows down mind and body and excludes the world’s filth – “Throw me into the deep sea” – without ever drowning the pain.
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Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky are an artist-filmmaker duo based in Berlin-Paris. They have directed together several short and mid-length films exploring specific socio-political and historical situations through the prism of altered states of consciousness – lucid madness, hallucinations, dreams. They have received the EMAF award for The Sun Experiment (Ether Echoes) (2014) and Conversation with a cactus (2017). Their first monograph One head too many is published by Bom dia Books.
- PRODUCTION : Sebastien Andres (Michigan Films), Yves Roy, Alice Lemaire