Two years after his last film, “In the Woods”, Angelos Frantzis travels to Siberia to prep his new venture called “Virus”, a Franco-German co-production that won the Crossroads Award at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival last November, supported by MEDIA.
Athens natives Petros (40) and Anna (30) have recently relocated to Norilsk, one of the most polluted cities in the world, where the temperature never rises above -30 C. Petros, a distinguished and level-headed environmental engineer, is working on an innovative project at the city’s industrial plant. Their lives are unexpectedly disrupted when Anna gets pregnant, even though their sex life has been virtually non-existent since their arrival at Norilsk. Petros’ first reaction is to think Anna has been cheating, but her shock at the inexplicable pregnancy dissuades him. Anna, seeing her partner gradually drift away from her in an effort to explain the inexplicable, finds comfort in religion. The crisis within their relationship culminates and faith clashes with rationale in a futile struggle for meaning in a constantly changing world.
This is the story behind “Virus”, the fourth feature by Frantzis after “Polaroid”, “A Dog’s Dream” and “In the Woods, adding yet another dimension to his multi-faceted oeuvre. This time around, the fantasy element – a predominant component of his dream-like universe – is even stronger. “Virus” is centered around an inexplicable event, with each character – Konstandinos Markoulakis (“A Dog’s Dream”) plays Petros and Katia Goulioni (“Into the Woods”) poses as Anna – grapples with their own version of the truth.
“Virus is a relationship film with a political agenda in the shape of a thriller,” says the director. “The plot evolves around an inexplicable incident; a pregnancy in the absence of sexual intercourse. The crisis triggered within the relationship leads to the conflict of two worlds. And Norilsk is the ideal setting for it: a city deeply scarred by the 20th Century that was specifically built during Stalin’s to serve the needs of the mining industry. Nowadays, Norilsk is one of the ten most polluted cities in the world, a place smothered in snow 270 days out of the year, with temperatures ranging between -10 and -58 degrees.”
“In this volatile and precarious world, Anna and Petros need to come up with a plan to deal with what has befallen them. Only problem is, they end up choosing different paths. Dangers are lurking in the shadows. Petros’ quest for a rational explanation leads him to a painful dilemma: will he choose to trust Anna or will he keep his sanity and hear reason? Anna on the other hand turns to religion, the only way she can fill the crack created by mystery. Either way, violence is unavoidable. The overall tone, reminiscent of a detective story, is heavily influenced by the disturbing silence of Norilsk and the slow motion of the falling snow. Anything is possible yet nothing is thoroughly explained. Is Anna lying? Has she lost her memory? Was she raped and doesn’t even know it? Is there some conspiracy at play?
But what if the truth isn’t the way to happiness? Shouldn’t myth and mystery get a fighting chance? Unfortunately, as it turns out, neither physics nor metaphysics are enough to explain the intricacies of reality.
“Virus” is currently in pre-production with the Crossroads Award leading the way, financial support by the MEDIA program and a Franco-German post-production in the works.
All we can do is hope it’ll start shooting soon…
Directed by Angelos Frantzis/ Screenplay by Angelos Frantzis and Spyros Kribalis/ Produced by Maria Tsinga, Argonauts Productions SA/ Co-produced by Arizona Films (France) and Busse & Halberscmidt (Germany)/ Starring Katia Goulioni and Konstandinos Markoulakis