Kristo, the last child by Giulia Amati

Publié le 16/03/2023 par Dimitra Bouras / Catégorie: Brève

A whole school of one’s own

As members of the FIPRESCI jury of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, we, three film critics, had to choose among 27 films produced in Greece to award our prize for the best Greek documentary. Whether it was a matter of chance or of easy choice, we quickly agreed on our favorite movies and our preference, the one that won, hands down, is called Kristo, the last child by Giulia Amati.

Kristo, the last child by Giulia Amati

This documentary reveals a striking humanity: it is filmed from Kristo's perspective, a 10-year-old boy, the only pupil of the elementary school on the island of Arki, lost in the Dodecanese. The thirty or so inhabitants live on fishing and breeding of goats and sheep. On this rocky island, where the future is battered by the elements, old people stay to receive their young kins who come back home to spend a few days for family gathering. Kristos, barely a preadolescent, must make a major decision for his future. School is compulsory at his age, and the village teacher has been working with him from the third grade to the sixth. Now it is up to him to decide whether he would go to the next island to continue his secondary studies in a boarding school or whether he would stay on his island with his dogs and sheep. Supported by the whole village, him being the pride of its inhabitants is a heavy trophy to carry on these fragile shoulders. This solitary child stays free and wild like the solid grasses that defy the wind and the bad weather. Franco-Italian director Giulia Amati manages to capture Kristo’s solitude. Indeed, he faces the adulthood world into which he must enter; he confronts his doubts and fears, while remaining left to himself, despite the love and dedication of his teacher, Mrs. Maria, whom we all wish we had met once during our school life.

Kristos, the last child makes us discover the depths of Greece, forgotten by the public and tourist infrastructures, where its inhabitants manage to survive on their own. This is a generous film that the director offers to the inhabitants of Arki who welcomed her with warmth and tenderness.

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