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And I also Passed by There and Had Paper Shoes to Wear


1 hour 31 minutes – 2014 – Documentary

A journey into the magical world of fairytales. Grandmothers and grandfathers, folk storytellers of rural Greece face the camera and tell fairytales – timeless and universal. Stories of the plains and the mountains that were first told to them when they were children. A documentary film dedicated to perhaps the last people in Greece in whom the echo of centuries of oral storytelling survives and continues.

“And I also passed by there and had paper shoes to wear” premiered in the U.S. on October 19, 2016 as part of the New York City Greek Film Festival (NYCGFF).


DIRECTOR: Vassilis Loules
SCREENPLAY: Vassilis Loules, Kostas Machairas
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Michalis Geranios
EDITING: Kenan Akkawi
MUSIC: Nikos Kypourgos


The director has implemented this same skill in his new documentary, “And I also passed
by there and had paper shoes to wear” (“Πέρασα κι εγώ από κει / κι είχα παπούτσια από
χαρτί”) about the oral tradition in villages around the city of Trikala, in Thessalia, where Loules
was born. His communication with the storytellers (ranging in age from 75 to 85, and one 60-year-old) enabled the participants to deliver their absorbing narratives freely, as if they were not performing before a camera. The integrity of Loules’s approach characterizes his work.

“And I also passed by there and had paper shoes to wear” demonstrates Loules’s decision “to bring to light personal, little stories”, but it is a variation on that rule, the director said in the latest in a series of interviews with the GN that began in 2013, “Here, there is not History–the big frame- -but Time itself. Here, there are “little stories” taking place not in the turbulence of History, but in the fade, in the ending of Time.”

Aside from its aesthetic value the documentary is a priceless cultural record. “His
method is exemplary for ethnographic work and constitutes a great example of recording of
oral traditions. He successfully managed to make those people feel like real storytellers and
offer these narratives,” says Maria Kaliambou, Folklore Specialist, Yale University.”

Greek fairy tales often conclude with the phrase, “Πέρασα κι εγώ από κει / κι είχα
παπούτσια από χαρτί / από πάνω κόκκινα / κι από κάτω κόσκινα ”. The title’s unfeasible
image of a traveler that wears red paper shoes with soles like “sieves” (full of holes)
emphasizes the magical mood of the story just told, a story that takes place at a time when
miracles were, indeed, feasible.

In this documentary the real world becomes primeval. Bubbling brooks appear to be
animated from within, patches of sunlight break through leaves rustling their own language to
make patterns on the forest floor, fields of cotton sway in a dark rain, and Nikos Kipourgos’s
evocative music suggests unknown forces. But don’t worry about the spiders, turtles, and
hedgehogs that speak, the bees that wash their hands, the girls that secretly become soldiers, the fish made of gold that fill a lake, and the boy whose cheerful godfather is Charon himself, because they’re all okay in the end.

Ms. Kaliambou notes that this film shows that storytelling is still alive in some areas in Greece
“where there are still storytellers who can narrate if they are given the circumstances,” but
oral tradition may be not as active as it used to be. “In western societies oral storytelling has
been replaced by films, videos, modern narratives, etc.” she said. Like Loules, she recognizes
that folktales have undergone major changes in the modern era.

Vicky Yannias, Greek News

Official Selection
Official Selection

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