Recycling Medea: Not an Opera Ballet Film, a documentary by Greek filmmaker Asteris Kutulas won the Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary Award 2014.


Not just a music film. Not just a ballet film. Not just a political film essay. Here, an antique Greek tragedy serves as an astute metaphor for Greece’s and Europe’s current tragedy. Medea kills her own children. Society has turned against its offspring and thus ending their future.

The balletic retelling of a mother murdering her two kids, choreographed by Renato Zanella, is based on Euripides’ play and features music by Mikis Theodorakis. Script, sound and dance join forces in a powerful film that reflects the desperation of a society that spent all of yesterday turning its children into today’s lost generation.

The film begins with the first bars of Theodorakis’ music and ends with the final notes of his work, framing the occasional spoken word. Six solo dancers – among them the extraordinary Maria Kousouni as Medea – appear in expressive close-ups, lyrical dance scenes, revelatory moments in rehearsals; a blend of traditional ballet and modern expressionist dance, interlaced with images of masked teenagers rebelling and the heavily armored, incensed police. Protagonists from a different, merciless realm that has taken over our everyday reality.

These protagonists are flanked and contrasted by the disturbingly mild-mannered 15-year-old Bella, the story’s Innocence incarnate, who is destroyed by the hand of a hostile and selfish world. Against this background, she seems almost unreal; a fictitious character. On the other hand, certainly not fiction, are the words of Anne Frank’s, hidden away in her Amsterdam hideout and filling the pages of her diary. They contribute to Bella’s sense of isolation and provide her „voice“ and thoughts.

Medea, Jason, Bella and Anne Frank, composer and protestor-extraordinaire, Theodorakis, the choreographer Renato Zanella, the cameraman, the dancers and the rebelling, hooded teenagers hurtling stones at advancing police – they all become (in)voluntary actors in this complex tragedy spanning the ages.


Since 2002 Cinema for Peace has been a worldwide initiative, promoting humanity through film while inviting members of the international film community to attend the annual Cinema for Peace Award-Gala-Night during the Berlin International Film Festival. Showcasing cinematic work which highlights the human condition and human values, we have created a platform for peace and tolerance. During the evening’s proceedings at the Konzerthaus, while film clip from exemplary works are screened, directors and producers are celebrated with the Cinema for Peace Award for commendable works.

Cinema for Peace brings together international star guests and global personalities from the world of film, media, politics, business and society, while celebrating the power of the moving image and its ability to unite cultures. This prestigious event is a symbol of peace, freedom and tolerance, a symbol with a lasting effect on the world of film and media, initiating important projects and the free exchange of ideas. Cinema for Peace itself distributes, well as produces, valuable movies with inspiring messages.