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DIMITRA BABADIMA, CINEMATOGRAPHER


ATHENS, 2019

Born in the «exotic» , as she calls it, Maroussi of Attica, one year after the Kampouris shootings. She studies cinematography and television direction. However in her walls hangs another degree, that of the Department of Civil Infrastructure Construction, even though she admits she can’t even construct a proper treehouse by herself.

 

Humor and self-sarcasm and she are close friends. We meet her at a point, when she has just completed writing the script of a short film called ΑΚRA and is at the stage of it pre-production while at the same time she is also getting ready for an upcoming full length film. She is occupied in the Advertising field just so that she can cover her expenses: “Bills ain’t gonna pay themselves”.

 

We’re in Athens, on a Sunday afternoon, and the bell rings.

Two individuals and another two girls (this separation reminds me of my grandfather and that’s why I like to use it) from the co-capital, Thessaloniki, are in my house.

 

It’s clearly one of those moments when, in order for me to break the ice and make them feel comfortable, I try to imitate the mothers, by offering them the food choices that exist, so that they don’t leave unfed.

-So, apart from coffee, filtered coffee, frappé, espresso, greek coffee, there’s also tea, milk. Would you like some milk? Cocoa milk?

I spy a little spark in Myrto’s eyes.

-Cocoa milk, huh? I’ve never tried it, but I get it for the guests.

Indeed, in this house you might find more things for the guests than for myself. Besides, my house is always open, so I never run out of supplies.

 

As it happens in any first meetings, one topic brought out the other, we talked and talked non stop, without cohesion, in a way that if one just observed the conversation, they would most likely catch a headache. We talked about movies, travels, sports, journals…Yeah..journals! Those everyday diaries where you take a note of the weather, the phone calls you have to make or even the super market list. I like to jot down in such journals, all those little “clouds of thought” that are shaped in my head ever since I learnt how to write, and that’s why these journals are an indivisible part of my life. Somewhere, in one of the dozens of journals I own, there must be some notes on the creation of a journal of my own. Just because so many years of research much be marked down somewhere, as a contribution to the greater good of humanity. (joking)

 

An old photo of a little boy and a monkey slips down from one of these random journals.

-Is that you?

-The monkey?! No, it’s Franco’s.

I met Franco at a trip in Berlin and we had a couple of beers together. It’s one of those meetings that just happen to me -had I been outdoors all the time- I’d say almost all the time. I just love engaging to random conversations with people I meet by chance. Not with all of them, just with the ones that have stories to share. With the ones that still hold some, of plenty of their puerility. You can tell who these people are, just by their gaze, since it looks like they’re searching for someone to share their stories with.

 

-I have a journal where I write all the conversations of this kind. Do you think I should turn this into a book?

-Why don’t you turn it into a film, instead?

-Sounds good.

-What are we listening to?

-It’s the “Walking by the sea” by Pitto.

-Is that the kind of music you like?

 

What am I supposed to answer now? As if I know what kind of music I like. What am I supposed to answer…I listen to anything nice that creates images that I have seen and reminds me of things I have experienced, or would like to experience, people I have met, or people I would like to stumble upon in the years to come. But what I actually responded was:

-Yeah, this is mainly what I listen to.

-The Spotify playlists are yours?

-Yes, they’re mine. I always say that with such pride, as if I am the composer.

-Do you travel much?

-I do travel a lot. This past year I’ve only been to a couple of places, but I plan on changing that, because it somehow makes me feel empty.

 

On the wall of my living room hangs a map with all the places I’ve ever been to, pinned. I have it there as a medal, to see it every time I pass by with a cup of coffee, or as a “wake up call” every time I need to escape the routine and plan my next trip.

-Sometimes, you know, people go to places, visit a couple of museums, check in online, and leave, only to tell the others of their getaway.

 

I once had a friend that had told me he wanted to make something artistic with his life. He concluded that he wanted to go study Art History. But that’s not art. That’s the History of Art. If you don’t get stained with the paint, or other materials, if you don’t lose sleep rehearsing, editing, film making ect…it’s not Art.

 

In my opinion the exact same thought applies to traveling as well. If you don’t meet the locals, if you don’t taste the food, if you don’t feel the energy of the place by simply strolling through the little streets, if you don’t forget about your smart phone for a bit, if you don’t keep notes on what you saw and how you felt…Did you get tired?

Anyways, you get what I mean.

So no, I haven’t been to all the places you see pinned down in this map. But I’m planning to revisit those where I didn’t experience as much stuff as I wish I had.  It’s like I never went there in the first place.

And from the living room, we transferred to the kitchen and then to the bedroom and then the office and somewhere between those places we talked a bit about “AKRA”.

-Well that was a nice work. I mean -you know- we were a nice team. If the team is not good, I don’t like making movies. And I am a fan of that team. “AKRA” did very good, it aired in cinemas where I used to go since I were a child. We supported by many. People really did trust us. And all that without any production company on the back. Do you know how hard this is? I think we must have done a good job.

I began talking about the script of a short film I recently completed and the beginning of a full length film. I told them I like making comedies the most, but I don’t think they were paying much attention, so I think I might have been talking alone. But it’s perfectly fine because it’s something I usually do.

 

-We’ve been here for 3 hours. We have a long way to go to get home.

The kids quickly packed their stuff.

-But that was your first time in my house and you didn’t have anything to eat.

-That’s okay, we’re good..

-No way. You will at least take some bananas with you.

They took the bananas. I hope they ate them, because they were the last ones I had. Never mind.

Maybe this visit to Dimitra’s house was a trip with an “open” return ticket, if we want to find out all her secret hideout spots!

Through her own narration, one can discover her own world more directly and maybe feel a bit of our very tiny experience of her hospitality!

 

by Dimitra Dimitriou