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"Climbing Eros": A Limited Screening
One week only! Watch a mesmerizing exploration of loss, pilgrimage, and gathering on a remote Greek island.
This week (April 24th-May 1st, 2023) Juke readers have access to a limited screening of “Climbing Eros,” a short documentary film directed by Charles M Pepiton.
From the film description:
CLIMBING EROS takes place on a Greek island in the Saronic Gulf. The short documentary explores the stages of pilgrimage through the eyes of director Charles M Pepiton and his young son who walk the island—from the deserted lighthouse on one end to the peak of Mt. Eros—whilst artist Rebekah Wilkins-Pepiton collects botanicals to create inks for painting. Each finds a means to reconcile with loss and return to the earth and to themselves. The film features two meditations written for the film by Damon Falke—one of confession, one of returning to materiality—that knit the threads of hiking and gathering around Jean-Luc Marion’s notion that “Loving requires distance and the crossing of distance.” The film features an original score composed by Tana Bachman. It was edited by Darrien Mack.
Update: Our screening has ended! Thanks so much to all the Juke readers who watched “Climbing Eros” this week. And thanks again to Charlie Pepiton for making the film available to us. You can still watch the trailer here:
From a Q&A with the filmmakers…
DAMON: When watching Climbing Eros, it is easy for me to think about the trip we made to Greece a few years ago. I think of the house where we stayed and the fine collection of bric-a-brac, the stone urns, the Davidoff tobacco, and the plum tree in the front garden. I must have eaten a dozen plums. It is a special place. How might we locate this particular place in Climbing Eros? Are there particularities about the location of Eros that we should notice, that contribute to a sense of or need for pilgrimage?
CHARLIE: It’s a place that has been mythologized by generations of artists, but it remains tangible alongside those stories. It hasn’t been consumed or staged like so many places gone to tourism. The island has as many ruins as new constructions, yet even those are kept to strict 18th century building codes. Today, a new home can be no larger than the existing foundation it’s built upon, and new foundations are forbidden. I was told you can pick out the oldest homes by looking for three exits. I’ve seen them. Each doorway leads in a different direction as a defense tactic against pirates. The grandest of these old homes are said to be connected to each other via underground passageways for the same purpose. There are stories of high speed, subterranean getaways through tunnels large enough for a mule and its rider. Here, material reality seems to mix with folklore. I’m always drawn to that point between what can be touched and what can only be hinted at or hoped for. It is the sort of thing that might motivate a pilgrim to walk.
REBEKAH: The island decided early in the 20th century not to allow wheeled vehicles. This left a landscape untouched by the automobile and the infrastructure required to maintain such things. Foot and donkey paths crisscross the island connecting small villages, monasteries, and ports. Lately, I have grown interested in translating such unique places into visual artifacts. In the film, I begin by walking paths and gathering blossoms from nasturtium, bougainvillea, oleander, some mulberries, and the odd metal object. Then I make ink from the objects gathered. The substance of the place and its particularity is allowed to speak through this transformation of material into pigment. The abstract juxtapositions of botanicals with found metals open a space for contemplation. These meditations can take us to those jagged coastlines, meandering goat paths, and rocky ruins.
Follow the film at SquareTopTheatre.org.
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Charles M Pepiton is a film and theatre director. His work includes Koppmoll, The Scent of a Thousand Rains, and Laura, or Scenes from a Common World, among others. Read more at www.cpepiton.com and www.squaretoptheatre.org.
Damon Falke is the author of, among other works, The Scent of a Thousand Rains, Now at the Uncertain Hour, By Way of Passing, and Koppmoll (film). He lives in northern Norway.