The Invisible Director


Documentary, 2011

Duration: 67 min

Direction: Nikos Theodosiou

The profile of the film maker Robert Manthoulis, through 25 meaningful scenes from his own films.

One day, while walking  at the Montparnasse cemetery Robert Manthoulis asked me to take a shot. A travelling shot, where for close-up we had the funerary monuments and some blocks of Paris for the second one. A shot that gives the impression that there are no limits. The cemetery and the town are united, so that the one penetrate to the other, from life to death and vice versa.

Seeing again the film “Lily’s story”, I realized that it had a shot that looks like the one that he had asked me, but at the same time it was too different. The creator’s eye can see the different this something more that a picture wants to show, has led to the adventure of researching of his work, with him as a guide.

Nikos Theodosiou, Robert Manthoulis

Robert Manthoulis is a Greek filmmaker who was born in Komotini in 1929. From 1949-1953 he studied film direction in the United States. His 1966 film, Face to Face, brought him unwelcome attention from the dictatorship and he took refuge in Paris, where he worked in television and on documentaries. He became director of state broadcaster ERT in 1975. He has directed more than 120 films. His most recent film is Lilly’s Story (2002). He now lives in France.


As part of the 13th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, a press conference was held on Friday, March 18, 2011, with directors Lea Binzer (Pelican’s Watch), Marianna Economou (Ecological Diaries – Little Big Ideas) and Nikos Theodosiou (The Invisible Director), whose films are participating in the international program.

Nikos Theodosiou’s inspiration for the film The Invisible Director, an anthology of 25 important moments in the work of Roviros Manthoulis, was an event honoring 50 years of Mr. Manthoulis’ work. “These scenes had a flow and internal cohesion. Also, since many people wanted to invite R. Manthoulis to similar events, I wanted the material from the first presentation to be available to everyone”, Mr. Theodosiou explained. As he noted, it is a documentary that is a kind of masterclass given by Mr. Manthoulis. The difficulty in making the film was basically choosing 25 scenes out of the thousands that exist in the work of such an important director, who has 120 films to his credit. Among them is the first film in the world dealing with blues music. To make this film he travelled to the American south, recording African American workers singing the blues, a scene which is included in the documentary The Invisible Director. Asked about what it was like to film a director, Mr. Theodosiou noted:
“R. Manthoulis had no problem with it, he is used to collective projects, and has been a participant in political youth groups since the age of 15. He highlighted important political events through his films, he has authored a body of work, and twice – in 1975 and 1981 – he was asked to take on the reorganization of ERT. The film is indeed the recording of a life rich in experiences.”


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