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IF NOT US, WHO?

IF NOT US, WHO? (Greece, 2010) is a documentary film by Greek filmmaker Nikoletta Papathanassiou about highschool students in Athens in 2006 who occupy their highschool in protest of the worsening education system in Greece which they feel is turning them into robots to serve an Americanized capitalist system rather than to create thinking individuals who serve a collective democratic society.

The students sleep in and live in the school in form of a strike making it impossible for the teachers to teach or for the school to operate. They are passionate forward thinking students, organized in their movement, self- educating, respectful to each other and committed to see their demands at least heard, if not met immediately. In their time living at the school together, they fight non-violently for a better more open education system in Greece for themselves and future generations.

The film is shot in a TV journalistic/cinema verite style and focuses on a few main student activists throughout the film during their residency occupation of the school. There were political meetings, heated discussions, joking, meals, folk dances and even some parties.

IF NOT US WHO? is a poignant film depicting a side of Greek culture that has evidently survived millennia. While part of the country races towards the European and American educational and societal homogenization, many still fight for the rights to be free thinking citizens and for their right to sustain a true democracy.
This is the story of a fight for a waning democracy in the very place where it was born; if not them, who?

Written by, Vanessa McMahon March 25, 2011

director Nikoletta Papathanassiou

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