DisAstro

Capitalism and its Crisis are depicted through the echoes they leave on the landscape of Athens, providing a post-apocalyptic vision of a city abandoned, strewn with the scars of past struggles, stuck in an era of permanent crisis. Without people, a city’s memory seems vague: it does not explain, but it does convey. Loss, fear, anger, inequality all seem drawn in the landscape, stains of a political economy gone wrong.

  • Leo Metcalf
    Director
    Larryland
  • Arlen Dilsizian
    Director
  • Leo Metcalf
    Producer
  • Arlen Dilsizian
    Producer
  • Romain Beck
    Editor
    The Watchmaker, Larryland
  • Emiliano Motta
    Sound Design and Music
    Mara'akame's Dream, Táu, A Stone's Throw Away
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    current affairs, political
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes 50 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 11, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
    Greece
  • Country of Filming:
    Greece
  • Language:
    English, Modern Greek (1453-)
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Jihlava International Documentary Festival
    Jihlava
    Czech Republic
    October 26, 2017
    World Premiere
Director Biography - Leo Metcalf, Arlen Dilsizian

Leo studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at York University, then a Masters in Development Management at LSE. After a decade working on radio programmes on health, environment and education in Madagascar and Afghanistan, Leo Metcalf turned to filmmaking and worked on two documentaries in parallel. The first is DisAstro. The second is a feature doc, Larryland, which critically examines how end of life is dealt with in the Western world by following an ageing hedonistic hippy as he approaches his death. He is currently working on a film mixing live action and animation that explores consciousness and perception. www.leometcalf.com

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Director Statement

A few years ago I spent a summer in Athens with my Greek friend Arlen. We found ourselves discussing the crisis endlessly, and spent days walking the streets and talking to people. The trails we followed opened us to the experiences of Athenians, but also took us through many of the abandoned buildings strewn across the city.

The otherworldly feelings of emptiness, of abandonment, of time having stopped that is found in these spaces seemed to resonate with the feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness people would describe to us.

Slowly the form of a film took shape: rather than using interviews with people, we decided to restrict ourselves to looking at how these dire times were reflected in the landscape.

We started to film and collect field recordings, seeking not to explain but to convey the feeling of a city in free-fall, where people were battered by repeated rounds of austerity, shell shocked by years of abstract talk of credit ratings, bond yields and bail-out deals that seemed to hold an iron grip over their destinies.

Though these desolate visuals and ominous soundscapes, we found ourselves portraying what seemed to be Athen’s future: a city abandoned, where the things left behind coldly reflected times past but left little clue as to what went wrong.

Yet many of the scenes were replete with images that reflected ideas about the current political economy.The films opens on papers and books from the accounting department of a factory in Pireaus. These are harvested by illegal informal laborers and then dropped three stories to the factory floor, thus beginning their journey to being made into paper again for money.

This hopeless cyclicality echoes the endlessly repeated bail-out talks Greece has recently faced, or even perhaps the rehashing of the theories modern capitalism cannot let go of, that of trickle-down economics, or the idea that an ‘invisible hand’ leads markets to a Pareto optimum.

Capitalism proceeds in a series of shocks and crises, and these are the times where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

The 20th century left neoliberal economics, threadbare states and consumerist growth-based capitalism as the only option open to 21st century citizens, yet all represent nothing but a dark star; a ‘Dis’, not/ill and ‘Astro’, star.

DisAstro.