Entries tagged with “Greek cinema”.

Although located at the Southern extremity of the European Union, or maybe just because of this, Greece found itself in the last few years at the crossroads of Europe. The economic crisis that hit Europe and the whole world a decade ago was specifically tough on the Greek economy, part due to global factors, part to the accumulation of bad administration and wrong decision in economic policies. For the Greek economy to survive harsh austerity programs were imposed by the EU and the IMF, resulting in salary and pension cuts and especially in loss of jobs for a significant percentage of the work force. On the other side, Greece found itself, together with Italy, being a target destination and entry point in Europe for hundreds of thousands of refugees from war and economic catastrophes in Africa and the Islamic world. The social and economic pressure resulted in high costs for the Greeks families and individuals, in personal crises for people losing or in danger of losing their safety in a world in change. For some of them the refuge was in political extremism. For other in love. This is the background but also the major theme of actor and director Christopher Papakaliatis’s film ‘Enas Allos Kosmos’ or ‘Worlds Apart‘.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3909336

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3909336


The film is based on three stories, which at first seem to have in common only the relationships between three Greeks and three aliens of different origins and statuses. A young student is saved from rape by an illegal Syrian refugee and the inevitable resulting love story is also the opportunity for the girl to be exposed to the realities of the life conditions of the migrants and the life danger they encounter under the threats of fascist hooligans. A mid-age father of a boy has a one-night stand with a beautiful Swedish woman that turns into a longer relationship, just to discover that she is the manager of the restructuring program at his work place that puts his career and the careers of the people under his responsibility under threat. A housewife struggling to meet ends meets a German retiree in front of the supermarket where she cannot afford any longer buying food, starting a moving and discrete love story at the sunset of the lives of the two. None of the three stories can have a happy end in real world, and maybe this is where the film should have concluded. But it did not.


(video source Worlds Apart | Christopher Papakaliatis)


Povestirea povestilor este destul de fluidă, în stilul povestilor romantice europene (mai ales franceze) cu fundal social. Actorul este de asemenea bun, toți cei șase actori sunt bine distribuiți și își joacă rolurile cu sinceritate și emoție. Este cel de-al șaptelea personaj – cel al lucrătorului în vârstă și dezamăgit care se încadrează în extremism, care merită o notă specială. Numele actorului a fost  și acesta a fost ultimul său rol pe ecran, a murit imediat după finalizarea filmului.

Cele trei povești s-au adunat în cele din urmă, și aceasta a fost, cred eu, întreaga structură pierde originalitatea, care se încadrează pe un teritoriu al transformărilor asteptate și melodramatice ale soartei. În timp ce întreaga greșeală grecească este ridicată (suntem amintiți de mai multe ori că lumea ar fi inventat eficiența economică, dar grecii au inventat dragostea), acest film despre criza indivizilor greci și celulă de familie grecească sub presiunea crizei și având o timpul greu de a face față relațiilor cu alte națiuni într-o lume globală, are un final extrem de convențional american.


Director Giorgio Lantimos‘ film Dogtooth (Kynodontas) is an anti-utopia. It imagines a world that does not exist, with rules and conventions so different from the ones of the society we live in that some of its aspects are shocking. A world governed by an order that kills emotions. A world separated from the real world by physical walls but also by a precipice which is deeper and wider than any physical wall. The material this precipice is made of is money and education.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1379182/


The family which is in the center of this film is rich. So rich that they can afford that only the father (owner of some manufacturing factory) goes to work, while the wife and the three children – twin girls and a boy, all just out of their teens – stay permanently at home. They seem to have never gone out of the villa they inhabit, they actually believe that the outer world is full of dangers, wild people and animals that just wait beyond the corner to bloodily kill them. Any intruder is considered a mortal danger (be it only a cat) with the exception of one woman brought by the father to satisfy the sexual needs of the growing boy. No contact with the world outside is allowed and in the absence of any information emotions cannot develop, or when they develop they are completely distorted.



(video source aftertastetv)


It’s no wonder that this film shocked a lot of people, intrigued other and marveled a few. I am in-between the two last categories. There are many cruel and explicit scenes in this film, as the characters develop a set of reactions that is a function of their misreading of the world whenever an intrusion happens, under the form of a forbidden VCR tape (only family tapes are allowed) or of an unlucky animal. The antiseptic atmosphere created inside the perimeter of the villa reminded me Michael Haneke‘s  two versions of Funny Games. There are two levels of possible readings of the world created by Lantimos in Dogtooth. One is the social commentary which talks about the extremes of the isolation brought up by money. The other is about the dangers and the spiritual emptiness created by an extreme education that tries to isolate the young souls from the realities of the world. To grow as a full man one needs to have the eyes open to reality.