In the Arvanitika: a documentary by Katerina Martha Clark

  The documentary "In the Arvanitika" is an attempt to eternalize a lost language by revealing who the Arvanites are and what role did they play in modern Greek history. Katerina Martha Clark, in her second feature, after the Polka in Athens (where she investigates the relations between Polish and Greek immigrants and political refugees in Greece and Poland respectively), focuses with her camera on Arvaniti and Arvanite. Wrapped in a traditional Arvanitiko village, the Villa, she discovers a unique culture, with dynamic women and stubbornness, the so-called Arvanite head with a special sense of humor.

Driven by childhood memories and with her natural curiosity for the language she heard from her grandparents as a child, the director of Greek origin Katerina Martha Clark, begins to discover the roots of the language and Arvanitic culture. Being half Arvanized and keeping his promise to his mother after his grandfather's death completes an initiative that began years ago.

Arvanites are a population group in Greece who traditionally speak Arvanitika, an Albanian language variety.

As the first cinematographic research on arvaniti, based mainly on the Attica's Villas, beyond the language, it places particular emphasis on both the culture and the representation of the particular personality of the arvaniti, as well as on their historical course up to their settlement in the suburbs.

In the Arvanitika: a documentary by Katerina Martha Clark

Difficult, but also with black humor, dynamic women and the well-known persuasion, with a lost language and with the interest of the younger generations at their roots, the director composes a puzzle of older and younger narratives and, with the help of the researcher and sociologist Elena Botsi, she shows us that this culture will not be lost, since their interest in their minority does not weaken over time, on the contrary, it becomes stronger.

Contrary to the past times when Arvaniti renounced their language, not wanting to be accused as non-Greek (also known as linguistic suicide), younger generations are more determined to claim both their culture and their language and pass it on to their children. Although there is a reasonable trend towards a reduction in language transfer, it is important that children still hear linguistic sounds in their home. Arvanito has a very difficult way of writing, like the liquid fricative vowels behind consonants, in everyday expressions and in daily communication and is used mostly by the elderly.

In particular in Arab society, it is women who, in their cruel and eloquent way, have succeeded and shaped the man. In a matriarchal society, their position was almost equal to that of men and even "strong" sex admired the fact that they eventually took the lead.

Tough, hardworking, careful, patient with golden hair and humorous, are characterized the Arvaniti.

Their relevance over the centuries and during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empire is also of historical interest, showing us the path of the nomadic ethnic group from Northern Epirus to their current place of residence. Reference is also made to the participation of the Arvanites in the 1821 revolution, since, as is well known, the great Aryan captains and admirals were of Arvanitic origin (Botsaris, Androutsos, Karaiskakis, Kountouriotis, Miaoulis, Bouboulinas), and the Muslims found in the current modeling of the Balkans.

By visiting the houses, cafes, courtyards, observing how holidays and their daily homes pass, letting them speak honestly, the director manages to give us a complete picture of the arvaniti's attitude towards life, the past, memories and in remembering their tongue. It gives us a sincere look at the term "Head of arvaniti", this stubbornness that has kept its spirit alive for centuries and its resistance not to get lost in its past and its customs in the vortex of evolution.

Documentary collaborators
Screenplay: directed by Katerina-Martha Clark
Editing: Helen Toya
Research: Elena Botsi
Translation: Dimitra Constanta
Production: Greece, 2019
NEW STAR distribution
In the Arvanitika: a documentary by Katerina Martha Clark In the Arvanitika: a documentary by Katerina Martha Clark Sunday, January 26, 2020 Rating: 5
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