The central character of Lea Binzer’s film Pelican’s Watch (www.pelicanswatch.gr), Nikos Pelekanos, is one of the island’s awesome grape growers. Modest and factual, Nikos is also a thinker. His formidable self-taught knowledge is as refreshing as the Meltemi wind that blows through the Aegean in the summer. Watch the teaser in Vimeo
A small community on the island of Santorini is tasked with a unique duty: to preserve its viticulture heritage. Lea Binzer's film, jointly produced with the internationally respected commentator and advocate of Greek wine, Nico Manessis, follows two viticulturists and a wine maker throughout their annual cycle of work at the vineyard and the winery. All three face adversities and challenges, the result not only of the current economic juncture but also of pressures exerted by their environment.
One of the key issues raised in the film and a threat to the local wine community is that, even though the extraordinary Santorini vineyard is the oldest one in Europe, it is currently being buried in concrete due to the unregulated development of the tourist industry on the island. Viticulturists and wine makers, the local wine union and local administration, vineyard workers and citizens, all form part of a fragile system that reflects Greek society at large, at a time of a profound economic, political, cultural and moral crisis. The forces of creativity and productivity are up against a society lured by easy profit from irresponsible entrepreneurship which exerts a deleterious effect on the identity of the island.
In Lea Binzer's film the main characters shape the narrative through their personal moments and thoughts about their life, work, relationship to God. The filmic point of view is investigative, focusing on the underlying causes of the problem and on the psychology of the people. It is a poetic and humorous take, rather than an indictment. The film's structure reflects the different phases of the annual cycle of viticulture. The original music score by Laura Gini is integral to the narrative. Lyrics to The Vine's Song are by Lenna Kitsopoulou, and the song is performed by the soprano Irene Tsirakidou.
This feature-length docudrama, launches a campaign to raise the awareness of both the public and the authorities in order to help preserve the Santorini vineyard and inscribe it on the UNESCO World Heritage list, a proposal that has been under discussion for the past 30 years.