Konstantinos Antonopoulos is a filmmaker based in Athens, Greece. His latest short Postcards From The End Of The World (2019) is currently traveling in festivals and winning awards such as Best Comedy at Aspen Shortsfest, Jury Prize at Regard ISFF, Audience Award at Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur. He received his MFA in filmmaking from Columbia University in New York, on an Onassis Foundation scholarship. While studying in the U.S. he directed several shorts, amongst which the award-winning Without Glasses (2009) and Lea (2013). Back in Athens he co-wrote the feature film Symptom (Torino Film Festival 2015), edited the feature film My First Kiss And The People Involved (L.A. FIlmFestival 2016), and directed a number of documentary series for the TV and the web. He’s a Berlinale Talents, Torino Film Lab, and Less Is More alumni. In 2019 he received the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Fellowship Award. He teaches filmmaking at the Onassis Cultural Center. He believes in patience.
703 AD. Two convicts, trapped in medieval pillories (wooden planks with holes that clasp together hands and head) shipwreck on a desolate Mediterranean island. Zaharias is a naive, peaceful beekeeper, convicted of heresy. Justinian II is the vicious, dethroned emperor of Byzantium, punished by nose mutilation. The two vastly different men desperately need to collaborate in order to survive, escape the island and reclaim their ruined lives. The problem is: their pillories render them physically useless. Glory B is an absurd, byzantine buddy movie about power, friendship, and the need to wipe your own ass with somebody else’s hand.
Historical films tend to be associated with large productions, elaborate sets, and conservative storytelling. Glory B, based on the real story of the Byzantine emperor Justinian II, is an attempt to twist the tradition of epic films, in a minimalist, unorthodox, two-character story.
The seed of the story came from an image I stumbled upon the medieval pillory. A punishment at once cruel and ridiculous; symbolic yet as-real-as-it-gets. Indeed, the eastern medieval world of the Byzantine Empire, filled with bloody court intrigues, absurd theological conflicts, and preposterous superstitions, seems light-years away from our tidy, civil, scientific reality. Yet, traces of this “dark” period insist on saturating our newsfeed today: religious fanaticism, torture, slavery, anti-scientific dogmas, grotesque politics. Ιs history a repetition of the same play with different actors, directors, and sets? Maybe looking at a past where the illogical and the intolerable (in today’s standards) was the norm will help us clarify our present predicament more effectively.
Equally desperate and comedic, elevated and ridiculous, brutal, and all-too-human, Glory B attempts to explore our failure to live up to our ambitions and our idea of success. We all are similar to Justinian and Zaharias: living paradoxes trapped inside ourselves.