Director Chat: Minos Nikolakakis On 'Entwined'
Minos Nikolakakis was born in Athens, Greece in 1980.
His feature film debut, Entwined, is a modern-day fairy tale set in the mountains of Greece.
As a child, he dreamed of making movies despite a career path that led him to become a civil engineer.
In particular, he loved horror films, even though he admits that he was frightened by them when he was very young.
Initially, interest in cinema was inspired by the movies of Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola.
Then came his discovery of the visionary work of Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro -- Hellboy (2004), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), and The Shape of Water (2017) -- that blended fantasy, myth and horror.
He loved European films like Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face (1960), Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Diabolique (1955) and Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man (1973).
He eventually became enchanted with Japanese Film.
Collectively, all of this inspired him to make a movie that blended romance, myth and horror that would be set in his homeland of Greece.
He would draw upon personal experience and childhood memories, including the stories told to him by his grandmother as they around the fireplace at night when he was a boy.
For his grandmother’s generation, fairy tales were a way of explaining the natural world, a world view passed down through generations. They were grounded in real life and told as events that really happened.
And so Nikolakakis set about to write and direct a film “set in the real world” involving “things that could happen to you or me.”
He wanted to make a modern fairy tale that sounded real.
Greece is the land of ancient myths and legends.
Nikolakakis grew up on the island of Crete. The location where Entwined was shot was said to have been the home of the Greek God Pan.
The mountains and villages are remote and secluded, insulated from the passage of time.
They provide a perfect setting for a strange story about a young man who becomes a village doctor and a mysterious young woman who lives deep in the forest in a cottage that might have been imagined by the brothers Grimm.
Entwined is admittedly a low-budget, independently produced film.
But the financial limitations forced an aesthetic of naturalistic, existing light cinematography that gives the film its charm and beauty, particularly in the opening reel of two.
The visuals are reminiscent of those in Stanley Kubrick’s film masterpiece Barry Lyndon (1975) famous for its stunning, pioneering low-light photography, which Nikolakakis wanted to emulate using digital cameras and post-production software that would impart a traditional “film look.”
Entwined was a debut, labor of love movie that took eight years to make.
When asked what advice he might offer to young filmmakers and film students, Nikolakakis said “Never be afraid! Do what your gut feeling tells you to do.”
He added, “Don’t be afraid to make a film with flaws. There are always flaws in films. Especially first films.”
In the case of Entwined, and the flaws that go along with the making of a first-time feature, the blend of genres and story elements as well as the impressive rendering of natural light images make it something worth seeing.
Entwined opens in virtual theaters August 28 with a North American VOD release to follow on September 8 on all major platforms.