,,Light Falls Vertical is one of those rare works of art, a deeply personal, highly intimate account of a life affected by domestic violence. At the same time, it sheds light on the troubled soul of a perpetrator and not only gives him a stage, but understanding and sympathy..“
-IDFA Envision Competition Review
“Once in a while you encounter a piece of art which ticks all the boxes. Light
Falls Vertical is one of those rare examples, offering a profound view into the
souls of both a perpetrator and a victim of domestic abuse.”
-Business Doc Europe
“e“a deeply personal yet also universal essayist doc about domestic violence”International Cinephile Society
“an intimate record of the troubled mind, without ever being intrusive”
-Business Doc Europe
,,It will be difficult to create something this personal again, but Zymvragaki’s empathic touch is what documentary filmmaking needs when it approaches delicate subject matter like this.”
-International Cinephile Society
When filmmaker Efthymia Zymvragaki fled her native island of Crete as a young adult, she hoped to leave her violent childhood behind. But in Spain, her memories come flooding back when a man asks her to make a film about him and his violence. The encounters with Ernesto and his alter ego Juan, the frank conversations about the violent acts he committed, and the scenes in which he or actors reenact parts of his autobiography provide unprecedented insight into the nature of an abuser - in this case, one who is painfully self-aware. At the same time, the filmmaker relives her own past. The quiet, almost whispered commentary and the poetic, cinematic shots of sun-drenched landscapes, details of flowers and the sea in which Zymvragaki's father would eventually die, leave room for the viewer's own reflections. In addition to the effects and causes of violence, the film is also about identity and the longing for a home.
,,When I left the island where I was born, it was not a departure, but an escape. Years later, I arrive on another island, a barren place that seems strangely familiar. I have come here for an encounter with a man. He says he is ready to reveal the violence he carries within him. But as I dare to move closer to the vulnerable, desperate man, I realize that he also holds the key to my deepest fears,which echo in the violence of my own past. Now his story will never be able to be separated from mine."
– Efthymia Zymvragaki, October 2022
One day a man who signed as Ernesto contacted me and said he wanted to make a film about his life. His message was that there are always two parties to the problem of domestic violence - the victim and the perpetrator. He was the perpetrator. I was intuitively drawn to the idea, and Ernesto and I agreed that I would make a film about his story.to make a film about his story, drawing inspiration from the autobiographical novel he had written. This agreement was only the pretext that allowed us to get closer to each other and gradually reveal the deeper motivations that attracted us to each other's stories. While working on this film, I found myself in a very delicate situation as Ernesto's intermediary, the man
While working on this film, I found myself in a very delicate situation as Ernesto's intermediary, the man who was dealing with the violence he had perpetrated against his family, the violence he said he inherited from his father from his father. At the same time, I was confronted with my own struggle, coping with the past from which I had fled two decades ago. Like Ernesto, I am also an islander. As a woman born and raised on the Greek island of Crete, my is my story is quite different from Ernesto's, but what we seemed to share were the memories of our fathers fathers and the patterns of violence that prevailed in our families. Suddenly Ernesto, who was once a stranger, became a familiar figure.
Alternating between the role of the victim and the perpetrator, he reenacts scenes from his childhood, his mother and himself and himself suffering at the hands of his father. Then, in other scenes directed by himself, he is already an adult who commits violent acts against his wife. Far from just condemning Ernesto, I have tried to draw parallels between our stories, to build a bridge of intimacy and understanding. This bridge is built slowly and carefully in the film, and it remains fragile, exposing our shared vulnerabilities. Through the narrative of the other, the most distant, I searched for answers in my own narrative, switching back and forth between the mirror and the magnifying glass. I allowed myself to lean on his memories of violence to navigate the stormy waters of my own memories. As the project progressed, my story grew louder and intertwined with Ernesto's until I realized that we were interdependent in the process of healing.
,,Light Falls Vertical" is a film about Ernesto and his struggle with his patterns of violence and abuse. It is also a film about his partner Juliane and her reality of the intense presence and absence of the man in her life absence of the man in her life. And finally and above all, it is a film about me and my encounter with the torment of my past,my late father, the silence that permeated our dialogue, and the circles of violence.
– Efthymia Zymvragaki, October 2022
Angelo Orlando / Gris Medio
Efthymia Zymvragaki / Gris Medio
Anna M. Bofarull / KaBoGa
Patricia Sánchez Mora / Novena Nube
Valentin Thurn / ThurnFilm
Maurizio Santarelli / Eur Film
Iris Lammertsma / Witfilm
Babet Touw, Daan Odufré / Witfilm
Ana Maria Pelaez Rodriguez / RTVE
Jordi Ambrós Hortensi / TV3