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Lemythou is situated in one of the highest regions of Cyprus. It is a village of the south Marathasa territory, built like an amphitheatre in a verdant natural environment. It has an average altitude of 1100 metres and is included among the 10 highest villages of Cyprus. It is located at about 65 kilometres north-west of the city of Limassol and about 85 kilometres from the city of Nicosia. Lemythou receives a very high average, annual rainfall ranging around 900 ...
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The village Lofou lies 26 Kilometres Northwest of Limassol. It is built over the hills like an amphitheatre, at an altitude of about 800 meters. It is isolated because the road-path does not continue beyond the village. Turnpike roads connect Lofou with Ipsonas and with the Limassol-Platres road at the level of Alassa. In the Southwest it is connected with the village St. Therapontas and through a rural road it connects with Pera Pedi. The village owes its name ...
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Omodos is located about 42 kilometres north-west of the city of Limassol, in the geographical region of the wine-making villages. It is built near the west bank of the Cha-potami river at an average altitude of 810 meters. The village is surrounded by tall mountaintops, the tallest of which are "Afames" (1153 m.) and "Kremmos of Laona" (Laona's Steep, 1092 m.). The village receives an annual average rainfall of about 760 millimetres; vines and various fruit-trees (apple, plum, pear, ...
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Cyprus Articles [ Living by Nefeli Musuraca ]

Living by Nefeli Musuraca

Studying space and time through film

Four women from very different backgrounds are brought together by the seperate production of four films reflecting Cyprus life

The desert and the playground, ancient history and hasty, soulless renovations: the basic grounds on which the battle over the most coveted island in the Mediterranean takes place. Divided territories, fences, political persecution, anger and death: these are known as the issues Cyprus is facing today, but they are mostly politicians’ talk. A different tune comes from the voices of young artists. Peculiar in its history and its political situation, Cyprus is also atypical in its artistic production. In a place still so deep into Mediterranean macho education, a group of four women are trying to tell the ‘true’ story behind the division. These young women have different backgrounds but somehow Cyprus has brought them together. I met them on a hot summer night spent sitting on a porch in Nicosia. It was actually the first time all of us were in the same place at the same time; some of us had never even heard of each other.

I met my three fellow filmmakers thanks to Sophia Hadjipapa, Chair of the Department of Arts at the European University of Cyprus, and it was on her porch that during that hot night we discussed our future endeavours in terms of space and time, the two major issues of a country divided in space and struggling with the memory of past times and a strong hope for a better future.

It is now only a question of time – and space since we live apart – before we start a project together. This island of ours, Cyprus, is at the centre of the Mediterranean and it is from here that we can, perhaps, have the best perspective to deconstruct and rebuild the democratic dreams of the European world we have just stepped into.
These four women, as with superheroes, each has a different quality.

Vasia Markides
Vasia is the daughter of refugees from Famagusta and she has just completed a Masters in Fine Arts at Tufts University, Boston. Her final project was a documentary put together while working as a video journalist for the Cyprus Mail. Her documentary, Hidden in the Sand, is about Varosha, the “dead city”, the part of Famagusta her mother calls a “city in captivity”.

She is aware that her documentary is potentially biased by her heritage, nonetheless she has tried to be fair in her representation of Greek and Turkish Cypriots. And she succeded. The core of the documentary’s story is told through animals’ lives and their interaction with humans, starting with the opening scenes where a car riding along the Green Line is chased by two aggressive mutts barking and bumping on the doors. And then a big dog fighting with a small salamander standing its ground, chickens unsure whether to cross the street and wandering around back and forth, seagulls crossing the sea and staring right at the camera. Among the four of us film makers, 29-year-old Vasia has the strongest emotional approach to the situation in Cyprus. “Famagusta is the hometown of my mother. I’d heard about this town and how “perfect” it was since I could comprehend words. It marked my mother in such a profound way. And it’s not only her. All of the former residents of Famagusta speak of it as being such an unforgettable place, unlike any other, a place where artists, writers, intellectuals and communities of creative individuals flourished.

“For me, Famagusta has become a legend, observed through the eyes of those who lived its history. But it is also part of my roots. It’s a place that sits in waiting with a tremendous amount of potential to serve as a catalyst for a solution if given the opportunity.

“It could be an opportunity to not only build a community from scratch, but an actual city. If Famagusta is returned, we as Cypriots have the opportunity to ask ourselves how we would like to avoid the mistakes of the past, not only in terms of our capacity to coexist with each other but also to coexist with nature and live in an ecologically balanced way.”

Hidden in the Sand chronicles the story of Famagusta, a city in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus that was evacuated by its Greek Cypriot population during the 1974 invasion. Since then, a large portion of Famagusta, called Varosha, has been encircled by barbed wire and kept under surveillance by the Turkish military, which uses the territory as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the Cyprus government. Over the last 34 years, Varosha went from being ‘Cyprus’ Riviera’ to a dilapidated ghost city; its former inhabitants watch their houses decay from outside the barricades, awaiting the day when they can return. Within Varosha’s limits rare sea turtles nest on the beaches, bougainvilleas overtake deteriorating homes and wild asparagus and prickly pear plants run rampant.

“I was not born in time to see Famagusta before the invasion. But I have heard countless stories from my mother. Stories about the orange festivals, the smell of the blossoms in spring, about the strength of the community, the cosmopolitan artistic flare of the city, about the miles of exquisite beaches that offered a gathering spot for young and old, day or night. But it’s not even what they’ve told me about it, but rather how they talk about it. There’s such a sparkle in the eyes of those who describe Famagusta that I barely even pay attention to what they say, but rather the way their expressions change when they begin to speak about it. You just know this place had something different”.

Now a wasteland of dilapidated buildings and overgrown cacti, Vasia says she finds it hard to believe the abandoned places she visited were the same as those described so vividly by her mother. “But you can imagine what kind of beauty this place once had by looking at the traditional stone houses with the large cylindrical balconies, the adjacent Venetian walled city, the orange and lemon orchards, fields of yellow flowers, and those beaches of crystalline turquoise water and golden sand”.

Vasia’s film took three years to make and formed the basis of her Masters thesis.

“The start of my film coincided with the opening of the checkpoints. That was the first time in my life I was able to speak with Turkish Cypriots, many of whom became my close friends. What I learned was that the story I had been taught with regards to this Cyprus Problem was simply a small part of a much larger story.”

As both the maker and a participant, the filmmaker examines the fate of this “city in captivity” and her family’s connection to it. Contemporary scenes of the vacant city are contrasted with archives of the bourgeoning Varosha of the 1970s. Ultimately though, the film tackles the ugly effects of nationalism, militarism and propaganda in the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. It combines humourous allegorical moments with footage such as the argument between the filmmaker and her mother while discussing Othello, two cousins philosophising on identity, and a soldier’s poetic mockery of his army’s swearing-in ceremony. Alternating between humour and solemnity, the film highlights the absurdity of ethnic conflict while culminating in a general sentiment of hopefulness and an eagerness for change.

The film has not been posted on the internet yet, but Vasia sells DVDs from her website,

Can Sarvan
Can Sarvan, a young Istanbul-born artist, between 2001 and 2004, started a monthly magazine called FUQ (Frequently Unasked Questions) in her native city. She was then selected to participate in Turkish Radio Television (TRT)’s Project of Young Filmmakers and shot her first short film, Makyaj/Make-up. She then made a TV programme called FUQ for local TV channels and had her articles published in Cypriot newspapers and magazines.

As an independent filmmaker she is determined to shoot more films without claiming any support. Her work is more experimental than Vasia’s classical, grounded approach and instead of telling a story her films represent a point of view, describe a feeling and uncover a new aesthetic approach.

Her juxtaposition of shots, sometimes apparently devoid of direct ‘documentary’ meaning, actually work on a deeper, figurative level, where it is rhythm and frame association that reveal the true content: style is as important as meaning here and they interact to create a novel and strong story.

She is very authoritative and, against the sometimes popular, less challenging taste, she keeps long shots as allegories of her telling, cutting nothing from her original inspiration. Fearless and independent, she stands her ground. She says it is difficult, near impossible, in northern Cyprus to find the means, the instruments and the professionals to develop and distribute her work. She is adamant though to represent “the minority in the minority”, to truly show what it meant, and still means, for Turkish Cypriots to be misrepresented, misunderstood and criminalised by the world. They are not Turks and their suffering has always been understated in the face of the Greek Cypriot drama.
She shot The Wound of Pomegranate, a bicommunal film in January, 2007 and completed it in March. In 2008, she made one short, Sea Needler and a documentary, Island where History is Accelerated.

Alana Kakoyiannis

Kakoyiannis is a video artist born and raised in the US. She has worked all over the world to portray the individual and cultural expressions of what we call “minor countries” or “minor issues”. Her latest work is a project in progress titled Still. This film presents the stories of displaced Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots through archive footage, text and home videos as well as abstract imagery of the landscape.
Alana quickly reveals a strong artistic and political point of view which she translates in the newest forms of video art. The combination of visual elements is manipulated to evoke the construction of memory. The shots provide an indication of the lifestyle and its roots to the past as well as the shifting nature that accompanies an uncertain future.

Hers is the post modern true-to-fact approach, where a TV set is not only a TV set but also an allegory of something only the individual viewer can somehow invent. Her art seems to come from representational art and, more afar, from Duchamp, the ready-made, the re-use, the irony and the invention of the new through the existing icons of our times. Televised truth is one of them, and she plays with the message, displaying televisions that show only static and the so called ‘tv-snow’.

“The combinations of visual elements are manipulated to evoke the construction of memory. This treatment is employed using various techniques. For the archival footage each meticulously chosen shot encapsulates the spirit of the times in Cyprus, touching on the experience of loss, displacement, identity, nationalism and mourning. Single shots are held for long periods within the frame and at times slowed down to set both a rhythm as well as allow the audience to take in the historical context with a less didactic tone,” she says. “Imagery of the landscape and elements of everyday life are composed to create a universal identity of Cypriotness. The aesthetic of these shots portrays them as they simply exist in their random combinations and provides an indication of the lifestyle. Home movies are an engine for nostalgia.

“In my work as a filmmaker, I often address the question whether we define "home" as a geographic location or something that exists inside our selves. This current project, Still, is no exception. In this age of mass migration, Cypriots are not alone in their search for the true meaning of ‘home.’ Through the poetic tone of this film their stories become more palpable, allowing the viewer to connect with their experiences no matter what their specific background.

Nefeli Musuraca

After a PhD at Yale in Literature and Art, I discovered a passion for digital filmmaking and editing. My first short, All of my Time, 2004, was a completely “autarchic” product, being written, shot, edited, acted and directed by me alone. It is the story of a poet who tries to write a poem while struggling with other issues: depression, neighbours’ interventions and the chaos of the city (which in that case was Rome).
More recently, I have been creating “anti-documentaries”, documentaries with no voice over or narration, just an inquiry that travels through artists’ works presented in a non-verbal way. I believe that non-verbal communication came before language and today survives in a subconscious form to build the deepest human questions. Non-language approach is not a way to play with emotions to convince and attract the public, it is a dialogue between the viewer and the artist, without the rational explanations that translate in logical terms the approach to art and ultimately does not allow for individual approach.

With the working title Land of Frogs, my documentary looks at Famagusta and the north-south question. It is now being completed with an Italian journalist for Italian Public Television.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)


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