Olympia Dukakis: Undefined
This revealing and unfiltered documentary follows the life and career of academy-award-winning actress, Olympia Dukakis. Starting on the day she turns eighty and continuing for three years, this film deals with the struggles and pains surrounding identity and the roles placed on us by society. Its cinema-verité style allows the audience to constantly move alongside Olympia as she navigates between rehearsals, workshops, family life, and finally the journey to her ancestral home in Greece. Exhibiting both candor and vulnerability, we see her deal with age, grief and sexuality while opening up about her past struggles with depression, suicide and drug addiction. Relinquishing and confronting her inner doubts and demons, we reflect upon her life, finding strength in sisterhood and the unity of female solidarity.
Intricately weaving between visceral impromptu personal moments with Olympia, together with footage of her performances both on and off screen, we experience the presence of an unrelenting female energy. Not only does her story add to the perpetual ‘herstory’ of women withstanding and overcoming their obstacles and oppressors through the passage of time, it also gives us an insight into how she overcame the impediments that affected her life as the daughter of immigrants and as a woman in a male-dominated society.
We are granted the raw, unfiltered attitude of Olympia without a script to guide her. Her fierceness is seen to persist throughout her daily life beyond the stage or film. Years of oppression, subordination and self-doubt have thickened her skin and sharpened her mind, and her energy is contagious. Despite her age and the innumerable experiences in her life, her determination to continue, to move forward and overcome the hurdles that life places before us all, is an inspiration. Through her brutal honesty and sincerity, Olympia compels us to confront our own shortcomings and differences by letting go, and moving forward with defiant conviction, which leaves us with a cathartic feeling that we too can be an “octogenarian motherfucker.”
“I was lucky enough to meet Olympia when I invited her to teach a workshop in Cyprus a few years ago. After spending a week with her I had fallen completely in love. I realized how unique and special she is and so I decided to make a documentary about the real Olympia. My goal has always been to try and showcase the person that I got to know. Not just an Oscar-winning actress, but the passionate and inspiring woman she is.
-Director Harry Mavromichalis-