On the Bizarre-O New Wave of Greek cinema
June 27, 2012
This weekend, the Miami Beach Cinematheque, one of the more bold art houses in South Florida, will indulge in a weekend of films from Greece. It’s not just the Greek language or a color palette dominated by blue and white these films share in common. All mark a new, bizarre tone in the cinema coming out of the country. There is an unsettling distance between the characters that feels awkward but also honest, primal and raw. The films also never seem to concern themselves with revealing what they are about until well into the drama, drawing the viewer in with a strange sense of mystery.
I had a chance to preview all four of the films showing that weekend ahead of their screenings thanks to an invitation by the Miami Beach Cinematheque. I have written an overview of the weekend as well as individual capsule impressions on each one of the movies for the “Cultist” blog at “the Miami New Times.” You can read the entire article, which includes trailers for every film, after jumping through the image below:
One of these films is Giorgos Lanthimos‘ Dogtooth. I have already noted it as one of my 10 favorite films of last year on this blog (An antidote for Oscar hype: My 20 favorite films of 2011 [numbers 10 – 1]). Though it was nominated for an Oscar®, it never made it to South Florida theaters until now. It paved the way for a lot of the interest in these films (the MBC will also screen that Lanthimos’ latest film Alps as well as a new film by Babis Makridis: L, a film that has no distribution yet, so this might be the only opportunity to catch that one in the theater, in this area).
But one of my new favorites has to be Attenberg (pictured above), a film by Athina Rachel Tsangari focusing on a young woman repulsed by close human contact (but a fan of the pioneering noise/psych band Suicide). It’s also the only film that seems to touch on the Greek economic crisis. At one point, her dying father, an architect, is looking over the white structures of their seaside city and comments to her, “It’s as if we were designing ruins, as if we were calculating their eventual collapse with mathematical precision. Bourgeois arrogance. Especially for a country that skipped the industrial age altogether. From shepherds to bulldozers, from bulldozers to mines, from mines straight to petite-bourgeois hysteria. We built an industrial colony on top of sheep pens and thought we were making a revolution. A small revolution.”
“I like it. It’s soothing, all this uniformity,” she responds.