In July 2020 we started filming for our project “Finding Europe”. Bille and Georgios (a German-Greek couple) took us to Hanioti, a double-faced holiday village in the south of Thessaloniki. Hanioti has two faces because it contains two European realities. The wealthy holidaymakers frolic along the coastline of the village. In the small houses in the mountains above the village, the staff of the vacation dream often lives in poverty. Those who are “lucky” work hard enough for a meager wage during the summer months, so that there is enough money for food, wood and a few little dreams for the cold, wet winter. Those who are unlucky fall by the wayside.
Georgios and Bille were our guides and translators. Georgios conducted three of five long interviews with people from the region himself. Bille also became a set photographer. Most of the pictures in the gallery below are from her.
Corona hit Hanioti hard. The number of visitors collapsed. Many “villagers” were now unable to find work in the hotels along the beautiful blue sea. The Greek state can hardly help. The Union’s austerity policy has paralyzed the country and has infuriated the Greeks. “Where is Europe when it is needed?” our interview partners kept asking us.
And yet there were tentative dreams of another Europe based on solidarity that might set out to resolve social inequalities within and between countries more resolutely. These parts of the interviews are perhaps the most touching.
We will go south a second time in the next few weeks. This time to Athens, where we want to explore the urban side of the country. Then we will turn to the next EU country, Lithuania.