Tribute to Kalymnos: the theme for a short film by Andrea Di Bari
Kalymnos, the climbing, imagination and homage of a film director. A tribute to Kalymnos and all those who are suffering by Andrea Di Bari, the Italian filmmaker and climber who first "discovered" the huge climbing potential on this Greek island.
Some things come about by chance. Like the discovery of the climbing potential on Kalymnos. Or like this tribute by Andrea Di Bari to this Greek island which has rapidly transformed into a eden for all climbers. The link is simple. In the mid-90's Di Bari was the first to accidentally stumble across this earthly version of climbing heaven, immediately realising it's worth. This is why he will be one of the main guests at the The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival scheduled to take place from 26 30 September 2012. And this is why we asked him for his vision of the island. He produced the following theme for a short film which not only shares his love for climbing, but also his profession as a film director. "Happy to be here" is the title. Nothing more and nothing less than a short story, ready to fuel those dreams and desires which only come to life in the movies. A tribute from a film director to an island, to past memories and to the power of an intense love and passion.
HAPPY TO BE HERE by Andrea Di Bari
The theme for a short film. Dedicated to all those who suffer and... to Kalymnos.
On my skin I try to feel the air as it opens up, cut by the wings of this plane high above the Aegean Sea in ancient Greece. The plane starts its descent. I fasten my seat belt around my hips. And observe the wing outside my window, projecting my spirit there as I sit down, fearless, intoxicated by the void beneath me as I see, happy to be finally there, the bottle-shaped island which contains all the ingredients for an elixir of joy and happiness.
I enjoy the energy of the din of the water as it is carved by the bow of the ferry as this heads towards the harbour, dotted with small lights, up ahead of me.
I let the wind play as it wants with my long hair; pleasant cool, it caresses my face with force. At least during these unique moments I know for a fact that I'm happy to be a woman.
I leave it all behind, the sorrows, thoughts, fears of a complicated life, full of friction and scars.
Now I'm here, happy to be here.
I savour the taste of the generous and nutritious island food. I take in its energy, let in enter me, express itself through my body, my legs, arms, hands.
I feel sleep enveloping me during the magical Kalymnos nights, I let myself go, happy to be here, in a dream which has become possible and which provides me with the serenity to wake up tomorrow morning even happier than today and ready for action.
At every step I feel the stones soften beneath my sandals. Their beneficial massage increasingly soothes me. As I ascend towards the Grande Grotta I feel like I'm entering into the immense porch of an ancient cathedral. I'm welcomed in to where the elements of time have sculpted sinuous rock lines on which I can express my physical, mental and spiritual strengths.
I'm climbing one of these routes. I'm ready, am strong enough. I have to put in some effort and therefore enjoy my way upwards. The precious lifeline rope provides comforting safety. Every metre I disseminate my steel-strength aluminum jewels, They form an elegant, colourful line across the roof of the cave and while I climb I realise I'm happy to be here. I exchange a serene glance and smile with my partner who from down below provides support and trust for my climb towards the top of the vault.
My fingertips fit perfectly into the rocks rugosities. I feel my muscles contract and loosen up rhythmically and in harmony on the route's hand and footholds as I progress towards the extreme border between the red rock and the sky and sea blue, above and below me.
I reach the very top of my vertical trajectory and sit back into the comfort of my harness, holding lightly the soft strands of my rope.
I don't want to descend. I enjoy the horizon. The crisp and brackish sea air rises all the way up here. A seagull flies freely close by. Once again I imagine climbing onto its wings and allow it to carry me wherever it wants, totally free in the skies, free above the blue waters.
"Miss Martha? Miss Martha is time for your medicine."
Six thirty, in hospital. I open my eyes. The kind nurse hands me the medicine which helps me survive. I smile, grateful as always.
"Martha, give it me. You fell asleep once again with the picture of the magical island in your hands."
"Like every night" I reply.
The nurse gently takes it from me and places it on my bedside table.
"We'll have to patent this image," she says. "If it works with all patients as well as it does with you... "You're the most serene patient I've ever seen in this ward." The nurse changes and adjusts my drip.
"Seeing you first thing in the morning always makes me happy Martha."
She says this just as she leaves the room, lovely as always.
I swallow the pills with a little water, pretending it's Retsina, my favorite wine.
And turn my eyes to the magical postcard of that island.
Whenever I want I imagine getting up and flying out of the window with my soul. I retrace all those moments of freedom, those marvelous times I experienced on Kalymnos in the past.
My body is here, with its irremediable weariness, but all the rest of me is there, happy to be there whenever I want.
by Andrea Di Bari
> filmography Andrea Di Bari