By Mónica Delgado

Under the eye of a camera which follows its characters with the immediacy and texture of digital cinema, Bill Mousoulis proposes a fiction contextualized in the current Greek economic crisis, which works not as a backdrop for the film, but as a symbolic spleen for its lead character, an old Italian filmmaker drawn to the political chaos and social critique in Athens, desperate to document it, away from him family and friends.

The films open with Giulio, played by Alessandro Figurelli, talking to the camera (and revealing himself to the spectator, rebuking him), a man disenchanted with his present, a man from nowhere, an Italian living in Greece, presenting a critical panorama on the capitalist world, a dehumanized, violent world, which needs deconstructing. In doing so, Mousoulis, through Giulio’s soliloquy, enables something indispensable in this filmic proposal: the filmmaker as a political, personal and indivisible being, a strange mix of man and artist, in a coherent logic which fits in with something that the theorists of the last century named art-life.

Wild and Precious (Australia, Greece, 2012) was filmed in Italy and Greece, showing the two poles of oscillation in the recent life of Giulio. Irene, his wife, who lives with his daughter Andrea, resides in Milan. Andrea is 9 years old, and he barely knows her. In Athens, he feels the need to record an historical event, the movement of Athenians protesting against unemployment and crisis, and to also help with something else, the requirements of a couple of Australian reporters. And that’s how the figure of the worker-realizateur-artisan appears as a portrait in two contexts (the sublime and intimate context of Milan and the open and conflicted one of Athens). It’s also interesting how Mousoulis builds this character from a dichotomy or paradox: Giulio tells us off at the beginning of the film for our fear of getting rid of technology, in a post-hippie or industrial critique kind of way. However, throughout Wild and Precious, we’re witnesses to his real figure as a man and his extension, the machine, or the mechanical eye which he refuses to part with. The filmmaker who records all and doesn’t get rid of his artificial eye, through which he builds and perceives the world.

If Wild and Precious has a clear non-definition of the real and the simulation, there’s no intention to solely portray a tale of the Greek crisis, or the internal conflict of a character forced to solitude. Instead, it is a portrait of details, catching a series of sublimated moments: the graffiti, the dog at the demonstrations, the climate of rejection in Greece compared to the tranquil and boring life in Milan. Though some subplots don’t feel quite right (like the episodes of a punk movement in Italy which extend from a character that appears in the middle of the film), Wild and Precious is a convincing portrayal of the convictions of a filmmaker, that could easily be the outline of several filmmakers working today, who place cinema above all things.

Director: Bill Mousoulis
Script: Bill Mousoulis, Alessandro Figurelli, Alan Maglio
Cast: Alessandro Figurelli, Jennifer Levy and Emanuela Zocco
Greece, Australia, Italy