Adults in the Room (Ενήλικοι στην αίθουσα)
Feature Film, France, Greece 2019
Original Language: English, Greek, French, German – Subtitles: English
"Each of the persons I encountered and write about in these pages believed they were acting appropriately, but, taken together, their acts produced misfortune on a continental scale. Is this not the stuff of authentic tragedy?" (Yanis Varoufakis, Adults in the Room)
Wolfgang Schäuble has been part of German politics like no other for 40 years: as architect of unity, guardian of the "black zero" and "disciplinarian" of the Greek financial crisis. As such, in 2015 he meets Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister at the time, who became a political pop star around the world shortly after taking office. We remember: at that time, Greece was on the verge of bankruptcy. Athens is demanding further financial aid - and is making what it sees as far-reaching commitments. But these are not enough for German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. In the end, a showdown between the two takes place in Brussels.
The great Costa-Gavras deals with this incident in his film ADULTS IN THE ROOM. He draws on Varoufakis' book Adults In The Room: My Battle With Europe's Deep Establishment, which in 2017 revealed what went on behind the closed doors of the EU.
ADULTS IN THE ROOM consists almost entirely of secret meetings, background conversations and debates, all of which took place in 2015 when Varoufakis (played by Greek superstar Christos Loulis) was appointed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsiparis (Alexandros Bourdoumis) to save Greece from financial ruin, and joins the chorus of tragedy in European crisis politics. The audio recordings of the meetings, secretly recorded by Varoufakis, flowed unfiltered into the screenplay; a partisanship that was judged by the German side as not particularly pleasing.
Even though the bulk of the film consists of talking heads - most of whom are graying, balding, or both - Adults in the Room is a perfect example of the Sisyphean labor that lay behind months of negotiations and how democratic hopes ultimately fail because of structural power.
The exterior shots of ADULTS IN THE ROOM were characteristically shot in Frankfurt am Main, outside the gates of the ECB. Oh, and you're probably still wondering who's playing the role of Wolfgang Schäuble: none other than Ulrich Tukur.
Directed by Costa-Gavras Screenplay: Costa-Gavras based on the book of the same name by Yanis Varoufakis:, Cinematography: Yorgos Arvanitis, Editing: Costa-Gavras, Lambis Haralampidis, Sound: Nikos Papadimitriou, Marianne Roussy-Moreau, Costas Varibobiotis, Edouard Morin, Daniel Sobrino, Costumes: Agis Panayotou, Music: Alexandre Desplat Production: Michèle Ray Gavras, Alexandre Gavras, Production Company: KG Productions, France 2 Cinéma, Wild Bunch (Brahim Chioua), Odeon (Manos Krezias), with: Christos Loulis, Alexandros Bourdoumis, Ulrich Tukur, Daan Schuurmans, Josiane Pinson, Aurélien Recoing, Vincent Nemeth, Valeria Golino and many others.
About Costa Gavras
Konstantínos Gavrás, internationally known as Costa-Gavras, born in Greece on February 10, 1933, is a filmmaker and president of the Cinémathèque française. He moved to Paris at the age of 19 after being forced to leave his native country because of his father's anti-royalist stance. After graduating in literature from Sorbonne University, he went on to study at the French film school Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques (IDHEC).
As an assistant to star directors such as Henri Verneuil, René Clément and Jacques Demy, he discovered his love of film before taking a seat in the director's chair himself. His international breakthrough came in 1969 with his film "Z" (Jury Prize in Cannes, Oscar for Best International Film), based on the novel of the same name by Vassilis Vassilikos.
Since the beginning of his career, the now 88-year-old director has been one of the leading figures in political cinema. In 2007, he was also appointed president of the Cinémathèque française for the second time, having held the post in the 1980s. "Adults in the Room" by Costa-Gavras, now a multiple Oscar winner, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August 2019.