Hope on the line (Greece, 2013, 73 min.), directed by Alexandros Papanikolaou & Emily Giannoukou, follows the leader of the Greek radical-left party Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, during the course of a year, from the campaign for the close-call June 2012 elections to the sudden shutdown of the Greek public broadcasting corporation (ERT) in June 2013. Shedding light on Tsipras' personality, political views and ambitions, the film includes insider's footage from the party, the views of militants and high-ranked members, and witnesses decision-making processes both in Greece and abroad. From the frontline man, Alexis Tsipras, up to the party's Political Bureau, strategy is being built, political lines evolve, another future for the nation is timidly being imagined. Within the political turmoil, Greek citizens seek answers to their fundamental and dramatic questioning. The very status of the country is at stake: its place in Europe, its future and destiny.
What is so fascinating about this story?
The economic crisis in Greece, as well as elsewhere in Southern Europe led public opinion to take an introverted turn and installed a sense of distrust toward traditional politicians. Thus, the center parties, as in most European countries, are struggling to stay in power, while extreme groupings and radical parties are rising in the polls. In Greece, where the crisis worsened dramatically in a very short period of time, and where democracy is expressed directly as a result of the country's electoral system, the fact that Syriza might take power becomes all the more significant. Syriza rose from 4.5% to 27% in less than three months, and became the second-largest party in Greece and the leading opposition party.
Alexis Tsipras has an intriguing personality. An ambiguous and lesser-known figure until recently, he now stands a great chance of becoming the next prime minister of Greece. He is fairly experienced despite his young age. Thus, he was able to change the political scene in the country and win the support of voters who have grown disenchanted with the old parties.
This film shows the transformation of Syriza during the month that preceded the election, also seeking to reveal the actual goings-on within the party in order to provide a better understanding of the way decisions are taken. During the last campaign, we saw the young and charismatic Alexis Tsipras emerge as a true threat to his opponents, even if he was narrowly defeated in the end because of the debate over the euro. He managed to change the way his party is perceived by centre-ground voters and got a spectacular number of votes.
Through this documentary, we focus on Alexis Tsipras' personality during a crucial historical moment. We also try to provide insight into the political views that emerge from discussions behind closed doors, inside the party, how these views evolve and how Tsipras presents these ideas to the public, as well as how he shapes public opinion and becomes a symbol of opposition to the memorandum. Our aim was to sketch the image of a political persona during this difficult political juncture in Greece at which society is trying to regain its bearings.
Read the complete interview with Alexandros Papanikolaou & Emily Giannoukou.
Watch the official trailer.