Through the fields of archaeology and mythology, history and tradition, anthropology and the arts and more, audiences all over the world can approach this legendary Goddess of Love and Fertility of the Greek Pantheon, who continues to inspire us as human beings.
Treatment: 12 women, both Cypriots and foreigners living in Cyprus, are struggling to revive the ancient art of the frame drum, sacred to the worship of Aphrodite and of many of the principal female deities of ancient civilizations. Within this framework, they are preparing a ritual drumming performance at the famous sanctuary of Aphrodite at Palaipaphos, Cyprus, which was destroyed after the prevalence of Christianity on the island. And thus, 1500 years later, at the ruins of this ancient site of worship, the sound of the frame drum reverberates once again. Recordings of this group of frame drummers from the early stages of their preparation to the final ritual performance are interwoven with the tracing of the faded yet preserved footsteps of Kypris-Aphrodite through the ages in different ways and forms. It is a journey through time, across the land that gave birth to the goddess, into archaeology, mythology, local folklore and tradition, all the way to modern day religion and art into which she has been transported. Albeit the only female deity of the Greek Pantheon which to this day inspires men and women worldwide, Aphrodite remains for the majority of us the Great Unknown Goddess, as we have so wrongly identified her with commercialized sex and beauty. The documentary attempts to reveal and reinstate the essence and truth of this universal female principle, as the sound of the primordial drum vibrates deeper and deeper into the ancient stones and ground of the temple, taking us back along a continuum of time when the Kypris kept changing shapes and forms under the influence of neighboring civilizations. This is perhaps the greatest, if not the only, gift Cyprus gave to the West; the gift of Aphrodite.
Director’s motivation and visual approach:
The Great Goddess of Cyprus: is for me the second lifetime project I am directing. The first one, a 110 min documentary film about archaeoastronomy in Cyprus, is entitled ENTELECHY and will premiere at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, ιn 2011. As a Cypriot national, the subject of Aphrodite has been a constant source of inspiration for me since childhood. I remember enjoying listening to my grandparents relate local legends about Aphrodite travelling underground on a golden chariot to secret places in the woods or remote beaches in order to meet her most handsome lover, Adonis. These fascinating local legends, along with the known mythology of Aphrodite’s birth, as well as with the many temples spread around Cyprus, urged me to some time make a documentary film about the most controversial goddess of the Greek Pantheon who was born in my beautiful island.
So, in 2008, I eventually began its development by attending an international conference about the Goddess which took place at Reading University, UK. When I informed the some 50 participants -- scholars and archaeologists from all over the world -- of my intention to make the documentary, their sense of excitement was such that they immediately spread the news everywhere. It was then that I realized the international potential this film would have. At the time I had no idea of how I should approach this film. The idea became defined when I met with a group of women from Cyprus, Italy, Germany and Sweden who were trying to revive, in Cyprus, the art of the frame-drum, the sacred musical instrument linked to the worship of Aphrodite, Astarte and other mother-Goddesses in the region. Their love for this instrument had led to them rediscovering themselves, and affected their lives in a positive way, seeking as they were to find harmony in their souls and bodies. This, as I have realized, is a kind of a universal theme not only in Cyprus; women from many other cultures on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean dealing with the frame-drum share the same thoughts. This, in my opinion, also had to do with Aphrodite, with this becoming apparent if one studies the symbolism contained in the meaning of the strange name of the Cypris Goddess Aphrodite, an issue however still in dispute among archaeologists. The numerological value of the name equals 993, a multiple of 365 (symbolizing the full circle of planet Earth around the Sun), obtained by multiplying 365 with the constant of serene harmony (e). This strong symbolism connects with the myth of Aphrodite and Adonis in Cyprus, Isis and Osiris in Egypt, and other divine couples found in the religions and mythologies of other ancient civilizations.
Filming the progress made by the group over the last two years, either through performances and workshops or through the preparation of a ritual performance inside the temple of Aphrodite at Palaipaphos at the time of the Spring equinox for the first time in 1500 years, I have collected invaluable exclusive material to be used in the film. This group of frame-drummers and their preparation for the ritual performance becomes the venue and the reason to touch upon many other aspects of this controversial ancient Goddess of love and fertility reflected in the modern world and especially in women. Themes will be interwoven in a harmonic balance. In this way, mythology and history, as well as the arts and culture will have their share in the film. Despite the film concentrating on Cyprus, it will also include references -- but to a lesser extent -- to the spread of Aphrodite’s worship to all countries around the Mediterranean and all the way up to Britain and Nordic regions during the Roman period. However, Aphrodite can be considered an international personality since she is the only ancient Goddess who still inspires people nowadays, irrespective of nationality, origin and gender.
In addition to the docmentary I am developing this project as a transmedia project for the web platform. Last year, while participating in workshops focucing on the development of cross-media platform projects, I learned a lot about developing projects for the cross-media platforms. From the feedback I have received from experts, it would seem that the KYPRIS documentary can be expanded into this sector with equal international success. At present, I am working on the application to the MEDIA development programme for interactive works in order to secure the necessary funds to allow me to develop this project for the web platform.
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