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Film reviews


Balamos (1982)


"Balamos" is a popular film, though not easy to absorb; it puts forwards a passionate, persistent claim to the poetry and dreams which man has earned for himself, in the teeth of all the powers that be. "Balamos" is about the return to the East, about water and earth, and the anguished concern with freedom. It is a popular fiction, not a populistic, moralistic intrigue. It isfirmly situated whithin our culture, but not in a localized, pictureque sense. It is permeatend by time, but not by calendar markings. It is both ver' ancient and very new. It ignores the facilities of photo-romances and seeks out the image. Tornes follows a cinematic line that  grows out of one of the shots in Eisenstein's ; “Que viva Mexico”.  There are underlying emotional repercussions from the work of the Taviani brothers and Straub. The popular quality of a film like "Balamos" can never be quite accepted in an age that preaches the tradeunionist version of freedom. It is a film that any of us could have produced. But the technocrats of the film industry the technicians of authority have deprived us of that ability. All we can do is immerse ourselves in these images, ride Balamos' horse in order to recapture a human right which is only too often ignored or repressed: the right to dream. 

Antonis Moschovakis


Always an incredible simplicity, the economy of means of a Luc Moullet. A Moullet who would film in colour a black- and-white screenplay of Mizoguchi's... There is a spirit of warm encounters, of fraternity, something which truly cannot be expressed with words. There is a lost masterpiece in the Film Market. Discovered quite by chance. And waiting. LIBERATION This is almost a one-man job, written, produced, directed and acted by Stavros Tornes. It is an off-trail work, a skillful poetical film... Balamos is a wandering man living in a fantastic world. He wishes to buy a horse and travel on it. He meets many obstacles to find one and goes through strange adventures and situations which lead him to overcome the limits of time and place. Balamos lives between reality and his imagination... Stavros Tornes' direction is remarkable. The same goes for his acting. The rest of the cast is good as were all other technical credits.



"Balamos", by Stavros Tornes, is one of the most interesting films to come out of Greece. With the help of marvellous photography, the director begins with shots from the life of the gypsies in the Evros and Pindos areas (Northern Greece), filmed in documentary style, and goes on to illustrate their personal aspirations, phantasms, myths, from a different, poetic angle that transcends the realism of the first half of the film. For all its poetic quality, the film is firmly bound to place, in a powerfully physical manner; this physical impact, together with the astonishing photography, brings to mind Pasolini. The final scene is also quite extraoridinary… True to the modern approach, the director introduces the film with a well-known song, demonstrating the importance of mind and vision: the personal way we imagine things, our personal attitude to the world - these are our only freedom, our only outlet.. .

Thessalonili / Alexis Dermetzoglou

Anna Wich and Tornes at " A heron from Germany" 1987Deedee at "Danilo Treles" 1985S.Tsiolis-C.Bakalopoulos at " A Heron from Germany" 1987

Karkalou (1984)


If there exists a poet-handyman and an errant radical, that man is Stavros Tornes. At 49 years of age, he is more legendary than well-known, the conscience of the Greek cinema outside of Greece (he has lived in Italy for a long time where he has worked as an actor), a thorn in the side of establishments of all kinds. Stavros Tornes (and his "alter ego" Chalotte van Gelder) have made their film alone, in the course of an eventful life, without waiting for any green light, with the strength of those who have -supreme luxury- the time to think of what they are doing. The annoying thing is that the story of a poet's film cannot be told. KARKALOU reminds one, roughly, of Murnau, of Straub, Antonio Reis or the Taviani brothers. Stone is stone, fiction is fiction, ghosts also die, an old man plays like a child, a young man grows old, children symbolize death, one shot succeeds the other with the imminent (and unprovable) clarity of a dream.

Liberation / Serge Daney



Danilo Treles (1985)


DANILO TRELES is like a dadaist game led by the ancient Volpone, the Fox Man, the spirit of cunning, master of perversion and sarcasm. The whole film is a delusion, a humorous tale without a plot. The most diverse characters, races and languages meet in the mountains and rivers of Epirus. They converse in anything from Latin to an African dialect, transmitting knowledge and experiences; forms and bodies too speak their own language in harmony or in contrast to nature, water, trees, stone. A gentle black musician gazes at a small lake from high up, in the soft light of dawn or sunset. In an interminable gesture he stretches out his body and catches an egg, contemplating it. There is something reminiscent of the dawn of creation in this scene.

Kathimerini / Yannis Bakoyannopoulos  

Esmeni Kariotaki and Marios Karamanis at "KARKALOY" 1984Dimos Theos at "KARKALOU" 1984Stavros Tornes as a  "slave" at "BALAMOS" 1982

A heron for Germany (1987)  

..The basic hero of the film is a publisher, devoted to poetry with memories of the German Occupation. This character allows TORNES to speak to usaboutsubjects which concern and move him, such as those of the German Occupation, the past, the present, the memory and history, the poetry, and imagination, the everyday routine, and the dreaming. This way "this ordinary story" slowly transforms into something highly imaginative, a heron which manages to get away from everyday trivialities and land in a sphere of poetry, the very place where TORNES lives and breathes.

Elefterotipia / Ninos Fenek Michelidis

... Stavros Tornes makes films with dirl and stones. His pictures are handmade.All he needs is a camera so as to film the road shown to him by his cruel fate: Poetly. Without any of the benefits of usual film making such as big budgets, overproductions and star systems, TORNES manages to make films such as "a heron for Germany" jewel of poetic cinema. A tragic "requiem" of innocence and poettry, a poisenous comedy vaccinated with defeat and grief this film, a carrier of precious beauty,comes in conflict with the rest of the cinema production.

lhos / Nikos Triandafilidis

This apparently simple story is used by the director to talk to us about the past and the present, poetry and literature, dreams and reality imagination and everyday life. At a certain point his film takes off, like the heron of his title, in true poetic style. Besides its surrealistic poetry, Tornes' film is permeated with an anarchic kind of humour, the work of a man who passionately loves the cinema.

Screen International 


The film A HERON FOR GERMANY is not just a funny film, nor does it pamper the audience simply because it is easily understood It is even less an intellectual exercise which aims at illustrating an ideology only to avoid the problems to which it refers. On the contrary it is a bitter film, full of self knowledge, which captivates the viewer with its sincerity and directness.

Anti / Elias Kanelis





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film reviews

a Louis Skorecki text




danilo treles

a heron for germany


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