In ancient Greek city-states, an agora was a place where ordinary people would assemble to exchange ideas.

In this film, internationally-acclaimed Greek filmmaker, Yorgos Avgeropoulos shows how his country's acute financial crisis threatens its very democracy.

He traces Greece's fall from prosperity to ruin. In vivid detail this film shows how a country that once represented the height of European civilisation has descended into economic depression.

Record levels of homelessness, unemployment and poverty have helped fuel social conflict and the rise of the extreme right. Weaving together stories of ordinary citizens with interviews with the country's most influential power-brokers, Agora brings the impact of Greece's economic crisis into sharp relief.

Filmed over four years, Avgeropoulos witnesses popular protests in the streets, the birth of solidarity movements and the rise of fascism. He also offers a glimpse of what the future may hold for his troubled homeland.

PART I

 


Scroll down for Part II


MEET THE CHARACTERS:

An inside look at the devastating impact of the Greek financial crisis on ordinary citizens and the failure of Greek and European leaders to avert disaster.  


Georgia

Georgia is an elementary school   teacher
Georgia is a teacher at the 9th Elementary School in Volos, Northern Greece.

She is also a mother of five, struggling to raise her children in times of economic austerity. She receives support from the food programme that was introduced in her school to help children at risk of malnutrition.

"I want the state to think about me. I want it to provide for me as a mother of a large family. I want the state to see us as people and not as numbers. We're not numbers. We're human beings."


Hassan

Hassan is a Sudanese refugee in Athens 
Hassan fled Sudan fearing for his life after all of his family and friends were brutally murdered.

He ended up as a refugee in Athens, only to discover that life in Europe might be just as dangerous and hostile as his homeland.

"We don't have anything. The conditions are very bad. Sometimes we don't eat for three or four days. Nobody has a job. It's difficult for us in this country. We don't know what to do now."

 


Vangelis

Vangelis used to work in the construction sector
Vangelis, a middle-aged father of a 7-year-old girl, used to work in the construction sector, which totally collapsed since the financial crisis.

Unemployed for too long, he could no longer afford his mortgage and lost his house. For him, the future remains uncertain.

"If I were on my own, I might have committed suicide. I've thought of it many times. Only my child is holding me back. There is no reason to continue living. Can someone give me a reason? Apart from my child, can they give me another reason to go on? Just one."

 

Takis

Takis used to work as a trader in the private sector
Takis is a 64-year-old man who used to work as a trader in the private sector for various companies in Greece and abroad.

After losing his job, he could no longer afford rent for his apartment. He found himself forced to live on the streets of Athens.

"Since I lost my job and my way of life I  haven't  reached out to anyone. I didn't want to. It's my decision. My reasons are personal. My life has changed dramatically. What am I doing? Where am I headed? What will tomorrow bring? These questions are truly unbearable."



PART II

 


Source: Al Jazeera