A goldfish in a fish tank. An incoming FaceTime call with Orlando author Virginia Woolf. Giraffe emojis. Vintage TV commercials. Contact lenses. Keanu Reeves. Making jello. At first sight, they have nothing in common, right? Wait until you watch Tragedies Come in the Hungry Hours, the latest video by Athens-based filmmaker Alexandra Matheou.
“I’m quite drawn to the process of bringing seemingly unrelated ideas or story elements together and trying to piece out a thread that connects them,” explains Matheou about her working method. Her latest 3-minute piece started with “the image of a trapped ant inside a bowl of jello, and it kind of spiralled from there. But the entire process emerged from a very spontaneous and collaborative place during the lockdown days.” Even though Matheou is the director behind the video, Mary, the starring actress, was “instrumental in how this eventually got its shape and form.”

Filmed in the course of a Sunday, Tragedies Come in the Hungry Hours came together in just a few hours after “endless conversations about lockdown and its impact on us.” “We’d throw ideas here and there, and these eventually formed the structure. Then I shared the idea with Yorgos, who was also super into coming on board, and we filmed it,” explains Matheou. “I also used some of the footage I shot on my iPhone during my morning walks or in my apartment during the quarantine, so the film is an amalgamation of that.”

With a quirky, humorous approach – “humour is such an amazing tool to observe all the tragicomic indignities of the human condition,” says the Greek filmmaker –, the video tackles deeper issues like mental health, fear, boredom, or our purpose in life. “Looking back, I reflect on how days blended into nights in a continuum that came to be an emotional rollercoaster,” Matheou recalls. “The whole experience was a series of ups and downs that invited so many important questions about our purpose and sense of self, the kind of questions we are too busy not answering when we go on about our daily lives.”

But just like everyone else, there was a point where lockdown didn’t seem like such a bad idea. “For me, even amidst all the fear, the beginning of the quarantine gave me a strange sense of euphoria that I was almost too embarrassed to admit,” confesses the filmmaker. “As everything came to a halt, this was the first time in my life I felt I wasn’t struggling to catch up with the world. It was revelatory!”

Now, after a quite unusual summer and hectic comeback, the second wave is hitting hard almost every country. So what will the upcoming months bring? How will this situation evolve? Only time will tell. In the meantime, enjoy this video while you still can go out.
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