GREECE: THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
Every crisis includes an opportunity. There is no bad thing without a good, as the ancient Greek saying goes. And, it is times of self-reflection that define who we are and what our legacy will be. This year, Los Angeles Greek Film Festival has programmed films that raise questions about identity – individual, cultural, national. Ranging from the comic to the serious to the sublime, these works highlight some of the emerging Greek artists of today, who dare to look at the truth head on!
USA/Greece, 2009, 90 min, Digibeta, LA Premiere
Director: Phedon Papamichael
Producer: Kelly Thomas
With a coming of age theme of metaphysical undertones, the film follows the spiritual journey of two teenagers in the aftermath of a devastating car accident in the hidden terrain of Greece. Papamichael picks unseen before images of Greece that reveal the youths’ gradual psychological awakening.
BLACK FIELD (Mavro Livadi)
Greece, 2009, 104 min, 35mm, US Premiere
Director: Vardis Marinakis
Producers: HIGHWAY PRODUCTIONS, GREEK FILM CENTRE, ERT, NOVA, LAMISALIA, 2/35, Yorgos Lykiardopoulos
Set in 1650, this is the love story of Anthi, a young nun, and an Ottoman Janissary warrior. Yet the story is only just beginning after they escape Anthi’s convent, for the nun has a secret: ‘she’ is in fact a ‘he’. Thought-provoking and visually stunning, this film transcends gender and delves into matters of identity, loss, and restoration.
THE BUILDING MANAGER (O Diaheiristis)
Greece, 2009, 92 min, 35mm, US Premiere
Director/Producer: Periklis Hoursoglou
Pavlos is a master at helping other people; his wife and children, his mother, and now the tenants of the residential block he has inherited. He tends to everyone’s needs except one: himself. All that changes when he meets Gianna, a beautiful woman half his age, and for a brief time Pavlos feels something he hasn’t felt in years: satisfied.
FIPRESCI’S prize, 50th Thessaloniki International Film Festival
Winner of Special Achievement in Film Orpheus Award
Greece, 2009, 94 min, Digibeta, LA Premiere
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Producer: Iraklis Mavroides, Yorgos Tsourgiannis
Intense and unyielding, this darkly comic fable spins around issues of control and power. Three siblings are confined to a sprawling estate where their parents have created a world with its own twisted rules and vocabulary. But when the eldest daughter questions the absolute authority of her father, she sets into motion a series of events that could rend their fragile world.
Winner, Un Certain Regard, Festival de Cannes, 2009
EVRIDIKI’S CASE (I Periptosi Evridiki)
Greece, 2009, 74 min, Digibeta, US premiere,
Director: Freddy Vianellis
Working through four cinematic themes at once, this engaging and unconventional film charts the life of Evridiki, who, after years of drug addiction and suffering, is now fighting to control her life. Interspersed with her chronicle of events is the development of a stage play, which provides a rich counterpoint to a personal account of the terrible lows of addiction.
FOUR BLACK SUITS (Tessera Mavra Koustoumia)
Winner of Audience Choice Award (fiction)
Greece, 2010, 90 min, 35 mm, World Premiere
Director: Renos Haralambidis
Producer: Angelo Venetis, Iraklis Mavroides, Takis Nikolakopoulos, Aris Dayios
Two down and out undertakers, an actor, and a convict get together in a desperate – and hilarious – attempt to change their trajectory of failure. The scheme: fulfill a rich dead man’s last wish to be transferred from Athens to his village in his coffin… on foot. But when the promised reward begins to appear as elusive as their final destination, things get complicated.
PLATO’S ACADEMY (Akadimia Platonos)
Winner of Best Feature Orpheus Award
Germany/Greece, 2009, 103 min, 35mm, US Premiere
Director: Filipos Tsitos
Producer: BAD MOVIES
Stavros’ days are spent caring for his senile mother, idling at his small Athenian shop, and harassing passing Albanians. But when he finds out that he has a missing brother who is Albanian, his Greek pride crumbles. Filled with comic moments, this poignant portrait of racial tension examines Greek attitudes to the immigrant influx in what used to be a homogeneous society.
Leopard for Best Actor, Ecumenical Jury Prize, Youth Jury Prize
Locarno International Film Festival 2009
Best Feature Award, Tirana International Film Festival 2009
Silver Taiga Award, Spirit of Fire, International Debut Film Festival 2010
COLOSSI OF LOVE
Winner of Best Documentary Orpheus Award
Greece, 2010, 59 min, Digibeta, US Premiere
Director: Nikkos Mistriotis
Producer: XYZ Productions
Unique to Greece of the 70s and 80s, the story of the ‘Kamaki’ men whose mission was to court and conquer female tourists, is funny and revealing at once. One marvels at the precise and benevolent code of the ‘Kamaki’ culture and, at the same time, is reminded of a society with strict and unyielding ethics that exists no longer.
PLUNDER FROM A BLEEDING LAND
Winner of Audience Choice Award (documentary)
(Leilatontas mia Matomeni Hora)
Greece, 2009, 83 min, Digibeta, World Premiere
Director: Takis Papayiannidis
Producer: Republic of Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture, GREEK FILM CENTER, ERT
Thirty-five years after the Turkish invasion in 1974, a Greek archaeologist visits Cyprus and is faced with the cultural ravages and looting in the island’s occupied territory. For the first time in these years, there is a joint effort by Greek and Turkish scientists to restore the disasters and preserve the rich heritage of Cyprus.
SUGARTOWN: THE DAY AFTER
(Sugartown, I Epomeni Mera)
Germany/Greece, 2009, 68 min, Digibeta, US Premiere
Director: Kimon Tsakiris
Producer: Rea Apostolides, Yuri Averov
The Mayor of Zacharo or Sugartown is a man on a mission. A self-proclaimed hero, he is set on developing the town after devastating wildfires burned his constituency to the ground in 2007. Will his plans to maximize the burned land’s profitability and his indifference to the rule of law destroy what is left – a delicate ecosystem and a population bereft of homes and possessions?
WORDS OF RESISTANCE (Logos Kai Antistasi)
Greece, 2010, 78 min, Digibeta, US Premiere
Director/Producer: Timon Koulmasis
An intelligent look at the Greek men and women who were forced into self-exile at the time of dictatorship (1967-1974), and who took it upon themselves to publicly express their ideas of justice through a daily radio program broadcast by the German Deutsche Welle. The filmmaker questions the power of politically engaged speech and redefines its necessity today.
LABOR OF LOVE
Greece, 2010, 50 Min, Digibeta, Los Angeles Premiere
Director: Pol Sklavos
Producer/Editor: Stelios Tatakis
Cinematographer: Stelios Tatakis
Music: Marios Gilgoris
Greece 2007: Wildfires rage across the country leaving behind a smoldering countryside and lasting emotional scars. The Mayor of Kalivia sets aside petty politics and begins to reclaim the land inspiring Greeks the world over one tree at a time. The Greek community of Los Angeles raised $50,000, which went directly to the project.
A tender fairy tale centered on the friendship between a withering tree on the sidewalk and a homeless little boy.
Best Animation Film, 5TH Animfest Athens, 2009
2nd Best Production for Children, European Broadcasters Union, 2009
At work, Katerina is run off her feet morning till night. When a stray cat gives birth to a litter in her vegetable basket, she is forced to look at her life anew.
2nd Prize, Drama International Short Film Festival, 2009
Follow the aging hunter-philosopher Charmer as he searches for honey, one bee at a time, and explore the impact humans have on some of the most important players in our environment – the honeybees.
2nd Prize, 11th International Documentary Film Festival Thessaloniki
A very ill boy escapes his gloomy life at the hospital into the bustling streets of Athens, and gets a sweet taste of love.
1st Prize, Greek Association of Film Critics (PEKK Award), Greek Film Center Award, 2009
This energetically charged story reminds us that true love comes in all shapes and forms.
1st Prize, Drama International Short Film Festival, 2009