This film is inspired by a real event
in Northern Greece in 1999. The characters and action in the film,
however, are entirely fictional. One must live with honor like a man
or die with honor. Yes. There’s the rub.
-Sophocles- A film by
C. Giannaris Films HOSTAGEMy dearest son,
I embrace you tenderly.For months now,
I’ve had no news of you.I pray you are well and strong.I can’t get a visa for Greece.Nor can I cross the mountains.
That is for the young.My darling boy, come home.In your own land,
people will exploit you to the bone.In a strange land,
they will devour the bones as well.After your father’s death,your brothers crossed
the sea to Italy.And you wander back and forth,
through the mountains of Greece.Florian will take us to Italy.It will cost.But he has saved enough money.We can be together
and look after each other.This is my last letter to you.Soon we will be together again.I will hold your hand
and caress your face.Ano Makri – Northern Greece – Mom! Don’t go!
– Sweetheart, it’s okay. You stay with dad
and be a good boy, all right? Promise me? Mom! – What time will you be home?
– I don’t know. I’ll call you. The bag goes below. No, it stays with me. Just don’t put it on any of the seats. You just made it. I went to start the car this morning.
Damn thing died on me. Stop the bus! Stop the bus! Nobody move! – Something’s going on.
– Nobody move! What’s this clown doing here? We’re going back to town! Are you nuts? And what’s this? A grenade. Oh, yeah? For real? – It’s real.
– No kidding. If I drop it, it blows in three
seconds. And we all go together. This here is real!
I’m not fucking around! My God, son!
What do you want? – Sit down. I’m not joking.
– He’s serious. Do as he says. Who asked you? She understood. Nobody move!
Anyone fucks with me, I’ll kill them. Turn around. We’re going back. I can’t turn here. We’re going back to Ano Makri.
I won’t say it again. Open the door! Let me off! Try anything funny
and someone’s going to get hurt. Open the door! I need to get out! Hey, mister, calm down! Open up! I can’t stay in here!
Open up! Please.
I have a heart condition. Shut it, or I’ll kill you first! Remember me? From the bar? What’s all this about? Sit down! You hear me? You want money? Here, take it! – I don’t want your money!
– Let me out! I’ve got to go to work! Don’t make me mad!
Sit down! – No! I have to get off!
– Shut up, you fool! – Scum!
– Sit down! Nobody move! Stop the bus! I said, stop! I won’t tell anyone! Please, let me off. Your wallet. Here. The money’s in there. I don’t want yours. I want mine. But I don’t have your money. What are you doing, you thug? – Get out!
– Go back to your own country! Shut up! Get out, now!
Before I fuck the lot of you! Get out! Now! Come on! Get out! Quickly! Quickly! Careful, you’ll hurt us! Sit down!
Who told you to move? Now! You! Get back! Back! You’re not going anywhere.
You’re here, with me. Driver, the door! I won’t say it again. Shut the goddamn door. Bastard. You! Up front! You, too! Don’t stare at me! You! Don’t move! Don’t be scared. It will be okay. Good.
Now we go back to Ano Makri. I’m Senia.
Elion Senia. Why did you come back? Leave! He’ll kill you! I didn’t come for you. Hey, boss! It’s me! I’m back! And what do you want? The guns! The Kalashnikovs! You’re not getting shit from me. If you’ve got the balls,
get off the bus! – How do you know him?
– He’s a cop! Biri, come inside! And what’s the crowd for?
You lonely, or something? I’m going to expose you
for what you really are! Anytime! Just drop by the station! Come inside! The neighbors! If you want guns,
go back to your own country! Get the hell out of here,
before I lose it, little shit! You’re the lying shit!
It’s all your fault! I’ll kill you! He’s armed!
Stop shooting your mouth off! I’m just pissing in my pants! Please. I’ve never done you any wrong.
Let me off. It’s my mother’s memorial today. I won’t breathe a word to anyone. I swear. You’ve never done me wrong. And anyway, you’re too old. No one will care
if you’re killed here with me. I’m only keeping the young people. So if I die,
my mother won’t mourn alone. What about me?
I’m older than her. I have to take my pills. – I have a heart condition.
– You’re staying. – Why? What did I do?
– Nothing. I just feel like it. Lady! Go to the police.
Tell them what’s happening. Tell them from me.
From Elion Senia. Think of your mother
and stop this madness. You’ll stain your hands
with innocent blood. And you yourself will die.So you’re a good person?
Is that it?I’ve never done any wrong.
Never.Five years here,
never caused trouble.Everyone who knows me
really likes me, you hear?–So what is it you want?
–My honor.–Someone screw with your honor?
– That’s right, because… What they did to me…Someone screw with your honor?Yes! I want revenge!Is that what you do
where you come from?Yes, that’s exactly what we do.– My God, we won’t get out alive.
– Elion, don’t start shooting. Just tell them what you want.Is the line down? Do you hear me?I’m still here. There’s cops everywhere. If they open fire,
all hell’s going to break loose. We’ll all die. Where’s the TV you promised?
Watch it, I’ll go to another station.For God’s sake, don’t hang up!
They’ll be there! You scared?I’m not scared.What about the passengers?When I get home, I’ll let them go. –Where are you from?
– Tirana. –Where?
– Albania.Of course.Tirana – Albania Mom! Mom! It’s Elion. – He’s back?
– No, he’s on TV! They’ll never catch him.
Elion is too smart for them. What’s going on, Chief?
Will you be making a statement? Later, later. Where do they get the guns from? You can get anything up there. Since the Americans stepped in,
it’s a fucking mess. When the commies were in control,
nobody stepped out of line. The guys at Deportation
had him for two months. Then they threw him out.
He’s a piece of filth. Everybody, calm down! – The guns! I want their guns!
– What guns? I’m innocent! They set me up
for illegal possession! And I want the two cops
from in there! Who? What did they do to you? They said if I was a man,
to come and find them. – Well, I’m here.
– Give me their names. I don’t know their names! Get them out here,
and I’ll recognize them! I’m not a bad person. Everybody loved me,
like I was their son. You seem like a nice kid.
But what do you want? I want half a million euros! To start over again.
They ruined my life. And my life’s not a piece of shit
to be wiped off anybody’s shoe. What exactly do you want, Elion? Stop being an asshole. Get the guns and the money.
Otherwise, no one gets off. He’s got to tell us
exactly what he wants. Otherwise, we can’t help him. Don’t fool around with our lives. No one’s fooling around. What did they do to him? You heard what he said! – Has he got accomplices?
– No, he’s alone. – Is this political?
– So what’s his beef? Elion!
What exactly did they do to you? For God’s sake! Don’t shoot! Elion, listen to me! For fuck’s sake,
we’re on your side! Don’t ever come near me,
or I’ll kill you. Do as he says. He’s crazy. I have a heart condition.
Why does no one believe me? We’re out of here! Next time you want guns,
go to Albania and get them yourself. This is over for me. Period. Watch out, boss. My eyes. Powerful, huh? Bought it in Athens,
from a Chinese guy. Sees everything. And what are you looking for? Stop fooling around. You punk. Didn’t I treat you right? What are you talking about? Is that how you treat
your women back home? Anyone can just fuck them? We take good care of our women. And the one who leaves
her pregnant, like some whore? We kill him. What should I do with you, then? She got rid of it. Yesterday. Three months
she carried your bastard. She didn’t tell me. I want to kill her, I swear. What would you do? Hey, you, up front! You, come here. I don’t bite. Come on. Come on. Come on. Sit down. I won’t bite. Got a cigarette? What’s your name? Lliana. Don’t drop that, you hear me? Relax, I know what I’m doing. I want to phone my son. Go ahead. The cell is in my bag. Do what you want. Yes?Lliana, is that you?Mom.Are you on that bus?Mom, I’m fine.With him?Mom, if anything happens to me,
promise you’ll take my son. –You left your child.
– Promise me! Promise me! Promise, damn you! Please, let me go. I forgot my pills. If I don’t take them, I’ll be
in trouble. Is no one listening? I can’t. I’m not well. Let her go. Why don’t you let me off? – You have the rest of us.
– Why don’t you let me off? I’ve got my heart.
I can’t take anymore. Pull over. Thank you. I won’t say a word. Nothing. Feel better? You’re not scared? Yes, that’s right. Before you get off,
I want you to do something for me. Whatever you want. Show me your respect. Of course, I respect you. Very much. Kiss it. If they don’t bring me the guns, instead of the half million,
I want 10 million euros, got it? Yes? Right now,
he’s talking to a TV station. Okay, just a minute. It’s the police. Not now. I’m talking
with the TV station! He can’t talk right now.
I’m sorry. Try later. Wait. No, try later. I’m really sorry. What will I do with 10 million?
The money’s not for me, pal. I’ll return to Albania
and hand it out. Second year art student. I know it’s a lot of money. Kelly Garifalidou. 10 million for Greece is nothing. Garifalidou. Like the flower. You! I’m doing the talking here! I’ve got to hang up now. Asshole! Yes, hold on. It’s the police. They say it’s urgent. – Yes?
–Elion, we found the guns.– Are you pulling my leg?
–I’m not lying.– Because I can’t take any more shit.
–We’ve got the guns and the money.We’re waiting for you back in town.We’re going back, to Ano Makri. All this, it’s over. It’s over. It’s finally over! It’s me. We’re coming back.
The main square, I guess. Listen! I’m in pain, you asshole.
Don’t blow me off. Jimmy! Why don’t you
put the gun down for a bit? You work? Sure, I do. What do you do? Firefighter. You put out fires? Can you put this one out? She hates me
for what I did to you. And what did they do to you? You don’t talk about such things. Can I put this on? What is it? It’s okay. You’ll see. Go ahead. Have you been down here before? Once. Long ago. Now I’m stuck. I don’t go anywhere. No home without a woman. Especially when there’s
no man around. I’m scared. They’ll kill him. Stupid thing he’s done. Those people aren’t to blame. He’ll take them down with him. The Greeks? They’re bastards. They shoot first, then ask questions. Their prisons are full of Albanians. To cross their borders,
they have to fuck you first. – They’re not the weapons!
– Yes, they are! No! No way! Chief, are these the guns?
The hijacker insists they’re not. We found the guns he asked for.
There aren’t any others. See this?
It’s got two hundred bullets. No one’s ever going
to fuck with me again! Get me their guns!
And the money. I want the money. What time did he get on the bus? Around 9:00 this morning.
We were going to Salonika. – Was he working here?
– Yes, he works in town. – You knew him?
– I’ve seen him around. They say these are the weapons! – He insists they’re not.
– You believe the Albanian? He wants those guns
to prove his innocence. Are we getting off? What’s the problem? What’s up, dude? Calm down. My little girl! Jimmy, wait. He’ll let us off. No, Daddy.
He hasn’t touched me. It stinks in here.
He smells of sweat. He’s from Tirana. Tirana! – Is the grenade real?
– What’s his gun? A Kalashnikov? The Kalashnikov. Do they have these kinds of guns
in Albania? We think so. He says they tortured him. – How is he treating you?
– He’s fine. He’s clean. Why the delay with the money?
He’s been asking for it all day. What’s the problem with the guns?
They know where the guy lives. We were there this morning. Can we get some water in here?
We’re dying of thirst! And cigarettes! We’re out! – I beg you, let my daughter go!
– What daughter? She’s my only child. Angeliki! It’s me. Let her go, I beg you. I’m staying. – She wants to stay.
– What? Jimmy, he’s letting us off. Elion, listen to me. There’s a problem with the money.
The banks are closed. But I’ll give you an Uzi, and I promise
nothing will happen to you. And who said I want your damn Uzi? What do you take me for?
Some half-wit Albanian? Jimmy, don’t leave me! Let’s go! They’re fucking lying! Sit down, you! Let’s go! Yes, yes. I’m heading down there. I need to use the bathroom. You’re not getting off the bus. What am I supposed to do? I don’t know. There are cups in the drawer. When she’s ready,
I’ll slow down, open the door, and she can throw it out, okay? Gianni, close the door! Something to eat? And who are you? My wife? Don’t you want to eat? So they can drug me? You’ll fall asleep and drop
the grenade. Drink some coffee. I don’t drink coffee. You’ll drink it, like it or not. What do you call an Albanian
with no hands? Go on. Tell us. Trustworthy, you asshole!
Trustworthy! – Why don’t you shut it?
– Oh, come on. You’re so touchy! And what’s the Albanian
doing outside the theater? What? Stealing the show, asshole. Did you hear that? Real funny. I pissed myself laughing. We, the Greeks,
invented the theater. What does your lot know?
Hillbillies. Hicks. The black guy over here,
he knows how to dress. He’s got music in him, rhythm. He is a fucking cool dude. Hey, seen the shoes
the assholes walk around in? They want to act all tall and strong. For years they starved in their own
country, like fucking gypsies. Now they like to throw
their weight around. In our country! Am I wrong? – Everybody liked me in the town.
– Oh, I’m going to cry. – Like a son.
– They adopted you? – I worked hard.
– You want a medal? If there was work,
I was first in line. – And now, I’m out of a job.
– We do jobs you wouldn’t touch! – Oh, come on, Superman!
– You’re only good for partying. The foreigners do all the work,
and then you treat them like animals. They had me a month in there.
Dying of thirst. Locked up, with the blacks,
the junkies, the whores. Drowning in my own shit.
No one heard me cry. Not even allowed a lousy phone call. What they did to me,
you don’t do to a man. He won’t listen to anyone? We’re asking you
to come to my country. To talk to him. To persuade your son
to let the hostages go. On behalf of my government,
I’m asking for your help. Yes. Yes, I’ll talk to him. I’ll do what I can,
so no blood will be shed. But promise me… …you won’t kill him. Elion is not a bad person. He just couldn’t survive
in your country. Why did you bring me here? I want my money. You piece of shit. – Was I asleep long?
– No. They want to speak to you. Yes?I have the money.– All of it?
–All of it.We’ll meet outside the next town.– Did you find their guns?
–I’m afraid not.Your hand. It’s going numb. Throw out the grenade. Don’t move. What are you doing? Are you out of your mind? Were you going to Salonika for work
or to meet her? If you could begin
today all over again, what would you do? Go alone in your car
or come on the bus with her? It’s them! They’re coming! Mom doesn’t love us anymore. Don’t ever say that again! We’ve become a minority
in our own country! I hope they catch him and hang him! Why did you bring him here? – Take him home.
–We’re family.We’ve got to stay together.Where are your folks?
Didn’t they come? As if they’d come. What about yours?
Didn’t they drop by to see you? They were killed years ago. Back home. Elion! He’s bringing something. The money! Chief, any developments?
Tell us, what’s going on? I beg you, go home! Please! Go! – You’re not pulling a fast one, right?
– It’s all there. – Start counting! The buck stops here.
– Sure does. I want to talk to him. The General wants to talk to you. Now you’ve got the money.
What are you going to do? Are you going to Albania? Don’t you feel sorry for them? Sure I do!
What do you take me for? But do you love anyone
more than yourself? What will you do in Albania? Clear my name. Think you’ll make it? Even if I die, it doesn’t matter.
I’ve acted like a man. Not like some woman, or a whore! Let some of the hostages go. Why? We’re having a great time. Another 6,500, right?
That makes half a million. Exactly half a million euros!
Give me a cigarette, someone! Your mother wants to see you. You talked with my mother? She’s very upset about all this. You’re famous now.
Everyone knows you. Yes. But will they remember me? Don’t push it, son. I’ll help you.
Nothing will happen to you. I promise. And then, what? They’ll lock me up forever. Great! At least let the others off. So you can kill me?
Like some stray dog? How far am I from Albania? In two hours, you cross the border. I’d like to let it drop. Just to see what happens. You afraid? Can I tell you something? Don’t get mad. Don’t cross the border. It will be better for you. For everyone. You’ll never find me up there. We’re all going together.
To Albania. In a few hours, all this will be over.
You have my word. I’ll take you to my house. My mother will make you a fine meal. Then you will be free
to return home. I promise. Let’s go! I’m well taken care of, Mother. The battery’s gone. Take it easy. It hurts. Do you love him? What about your husband? It’s hard in small towns. Everybody knows. Please, stop. In Albania, if a woman even
looks at another man, she’s dead. Here, they go from one to another. They’re all… Whores. You love her? Madly. Promise you won’t ever leave me. I won’t leave you. Ever. Do you have people to help you
when you cross the border? Sure I do. They’re waiting. When I cross over,
they’re coming to meet me. – It’s all figured out.
– Good thing you’re not alone. I’m not alone. No way. Jump off the bus now. We carry on for the border. Before they know it,
you’ll have disappeared. For Christ’s sake,
what will you do in Albania? No one will dare touch me up there.
I’ll never set foot in Greece again. The grenade. It will fall
from your hand. Get rid of it. You’ve got the other one,
if you need it. Driver, open the door! Shut the door! Leave us. Leave us.
We have things to discuss. Elion and Mirella
have been engaged for three years. It’s time they were married. Three years ago,
your late husband was still alive. Things are different now. What has changed? Your son has been abroad,
away in Greece, a long time. I went to find work.
To make money. And where’s your money? You know Elion
has been through a lot lately. Don’t make things harder for him. And what will my daughter live on?
Dreams? And he sold the land he had for next
to nothing, I heard. He’s been deported from Greece. He can’t go back. I can go back, through the mountains.
What’s the problem, father? I’m not your father. And never will be. Everybody is talking
about your son’s disgrace. You’re wrong. Very wrong. Why do you believe
all this stupid talk? My son is a man! You hear? A man! Elion! Are we there? Yes. I want to talk to you. Greek – Albanian border You wanted to talk.
What seems to be the problem? When I get off the bus,
will the cops be there? My job finishes here. Everything will be fine.
Your people promised us. Let some of the passengers go. Do you think we’re idiots? Why would I do that? You’re married with a young kid. Let her go. It will count in your favor. It’s all of us or none of us. We part company here. You’re on your own. Safe journey. Till we meet again. Well, guys?
Are you going to let us through? Where are we heading, boss? Where are we going? Straight ahead.
There’s only one road. Damn shitty roads! What the hell is that? My eyes hurt!
Who turned the lights on? Get up! Let me through! Close the curtains, now! All of them! Quickly! Start praying now.
You’re no longer in Greece.Get off the bus!
The fairy tale is over!Elion, what’s he saying? I’ve got seven hostages in here! If you fuck with me,
I’ll kill them one by one! I want to go home! Understood?You’re not going anywhere, pal!
You hear me?I’m going to Tirana!
To Skenderbey Square! I want to tell everyone
what I went through! Stay down. They’ll kill you.Get off the bus!Where do you think you’re going?
On a picnic?I don’t know if you understand me. Can you understand me?
Elion is okay. Really! He’s clean! He only wants to go home,
and then he’ll set us free! Start the bus!
We’re going to Tirana! Please, guys, let us through! I beg you! Let us through! See this? Half a million euros. They could get on and take it,
just like that.Everyone, back in the cars!
We’re out of here!Yes? Yes, yes, yes. Understood. I got you. He crossed the border. He’s still holding the hostages. The asshole! Where does he think he’s going?
On a sightseeing tour? He brought them over
for a spot of tourism. He wants to go to Tirana,
to the capital. – He wants to become a hero.
– Clever boy, huh? Don’t listen to them. You have to persuade your son
to surrender. To get out of this mess alive,
you hear me? Got to hand it to him, though. He got the money,
he skipped the country. And he made fools of the Greeks.
He really screwed them. What’s the time? Almost 5:00. – What are you writing?
– A letter to friends. Tomorrow, their son has his birthday. He’ll be six. Where do they live? Africa? Athens. – I’m scared.
– What are you scared of? It will be over soon. – Why did you stop?
– They’ve closed the road. – Start the bus. Get going!
– Go where? Fly over them? – It’s a bus, not a plane!
– Start the bus, you hear me? Take the wheel and drive the
damn thing into them. I’m through.Get off the bus!Get off the bus!But we’ve still got a long way
before I get home.Throw down your weapon and get off!
Nothing will happen to you!Throw out the gun!You’re not going anywhere, pal.
The game is over!What are they doing? It’s not mine. So how come
we found it in your house? They put it there. – Who?
– Biris and the others. – Who is this guy?
– The town cop. – Colleague.
– My boss. So why did he have it in for you? I don’t know. I didn’t do anything. Illegal weapons possession,
illegal resident… – I have a permit!
– Illegal entry into the country. – They tore it up!
– You’ve done plenty. Spill! I had a thing with his wife. Listen to the punk! – He was screwing the guy’s wife!
– And how old is the lady? – 33.
– Mutton. Whore. Do they have children? No. You see? Pretty bad all around.
Nothing good can come of it. Fucking a guy’s wife
is bad enough. But fucking his wife
and being a foreigner and all… It’s like… Like cutting the guy’s dick off
in his own home. Thirsty? Want a soft drink? Yes. Regular or light? Regular. What happened?
You drank it already? What are you doing? Leave my dick alone! Are you crazy?
I’m not some little queer! Hey, guys!
You don’t do this stuff to a man! Never to a man! Get to your positions! Move! You, over there! Move now! Smell that air! I bet there’s good hunting up here. Anything your heart desires. Can’t understand all those
hell bent on outlawing hunting when it’s in our very nature. – We don’t have that problem here.
– I fear it’s only a matter of time. Good looking woman. Tragic figure. She brought him into the world,
raised him, and he turns out rotten. Are we ready? Elion! Do you hear me? Elion, throw down your weapon. Let the people go. Stop this madness. I’ve come to take you home.
You were never bad. How did you end up like this? So heartless, like a wild animal? I know. They hurt you,
and they beat you. Cruel people. They dirtied your life.
Don’t become like them. Come back home. Your brother is waiting for you. We will all live together. Me with Eri downstairs.
You, your wife, and children above. Remember the first time
you ran away from home? You were five. You got up one morning
and just disappeared. I ran through the neighborhood,
searching for you. I couldn’t find you anywhere. I was frightened. I thought you’d never return. And suddenly I saw you coming down,
towards the house. Descending the steep stairs,
one by one. Smiling, as if nothing was wrong. That’s how you will appear
again before me now. Smiling. Happy.
As if nothing was amiss! Elion, life is not just pain
and suffering! It’s beautiful,
full of wonder and laughter! I beg you! Listen to me! You have all of your life
ahead of you! Elion, my boy. Come down, please.
Let the people go. Mother? Elion! My son! Get off the bus! Nothing will happen to you!
They gave me their word! Mother, you came. No! No! No! Elion! Elion! Elion! Open the door! Open it! Don’t leave me. Grigoris, I’m dying. Grigoris. Elion! Elion, they killed you! Out! Out! Now! And you! You, too! Get up! On your feet! Get up! Go! Come on, go! Move, move, move! Is this him? Yes. Elion! My son! They’ve gone mad.
All of them.