An ex-convict lives on the margins of society as he tries to redefine himself and make amends for beating an Albanian to death in a frenzied moment of nationalistic passion after a soccer match. His attempt to connect with a woman (the wife, sister, lover of the victim? —we are never sure) and her daughter invokes on a more personal level the social tension between Albanians and Greeks.
This much admired, complex film has been shown at festivals around the world, including the 2008 New Directors/New Films at Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art. It was Greece’s entry for Best Foreign Film Academy Award consideration earlier this year.
FALSE ALARM (ORES KOINIS ISYHIAS)
Dir. Katerina Evangelakou
A blaring car alarm brings the residents of an Athens apartment house out to the street. What they don’t know is that their lives will soon cross in totally unexpected ways. The film takes the viewer into five different apartments and tells five different stories. As the lives of the apartment dwellers are revealed, this socially incisive comedy says much about the way modern-day Athenians live.
Dir. Alexis Kardaras
Guinness, his name a play on the Greek word “gkinia” meaning bad luck, is a gambler who has hit rock bottom. He is literally hiding in a garbage dumpster when he overhears a dying thug confess to having buried gold in a remote mountain village. Guinness goes looking for the treasure, but to his dismay, the closer he gets to the gold the worse his luck becomes. What will it take to break his bad luck streak? Will the love of a woman turn things around? Will love triumph over gold?
I’M DYING FOR YOU (PETHAINO GIA SENA)
Dir. Nikos Karapanagiotis
A handsome young physics tutor is hiredto help a failing high school student, an identity-challenged teenager. Before long, complications ensue as each member of the student’s family begins to make demands on the young man. Beneath the chaos and clutter of this very dark comedy lies the feminist sensibility of its leading lady and co-author Eleni Rantou. Ultimately, the film tells us that more important than dying for someone is living for someone.
JUST BROKEN UP (MOLIS HORISA)
Dir. Vassilis Myrianthopoulos
Friends gathering for a surprise birthday party on Valentine’s Day are determined to hide from the unsuspecting birthday girl the news that her boyfriend has left her. This hilarious farce, based on a hit play, was a major box office success in Greece last year.
THE MOUNTAIN IN FRONT (TO VOUNO BROSTA)
Dir. Vassilis Douros
As a matter of personal pride, an Albanian shepherd living in a remote mountain village offers to buy the fireworks that are to be set off at Resurrection services on Holy Saturday. When local inhabitants take offense to his gesture, old hostilities are rekindled. The act of senseless violence that will mar Easter Sunday is a powerful indictment of xenophobia and a poignant plea for tolerance.
THE NIGHT FERNANDO PESSOA MET CONSTANTINE CAVAFY
(TI NYCHTA POU O FERNANDO PESSOA SYNANTISE TON CONSTANTINO CAVAFY)
Dir. Stelios Charalambopoulos
In October, 1929, a young Greek on board an ocean liner heading for America unexpectedly witnesses a meeting between the poets Constantine Cavafy and Fernando Pessoa. Blending the documentary form with narrative film techniques, the film recreates this alleged encounter and explores the glorious poetry of these two great artists.
PARVAS (PARVAS, AGONI GRAMMI)
Dir. Gerasimos Rigas
This richly detailed documentary focuses on Dimitri Yannakos, also known as Parvas, as he lives the last year of his life on the island of Amorgos, tending his garden and working at the coffee shop that he runs with his wife and daughter. It is the story of a family, of every-day happenings, of life.
SMALL CRIME (MIKRO ENGLIMA)
Dir. Christos Georgiou
A young policeman assigned to a quiet Greek island longs to be transferred to a city where he can work on solving real crimes. When the local drunk turns up dead at the bottom of a cliff, the officer’s hyperactive imagination convinces himthat this is the case he’s been waiting for. In the process of his investigation, he finds love and a sense of belonging where he is.
Filmed on the ravishingly beautiful island of Thirrassia, this charming romantic comedy is beguiling European audiences and playing festivals around the world.
UNDER YOUR MAKE UP
(KATO APO TO MAKIGIAZ SOU)
Dir. Vangelis Seitanidis
A woman in her late thirties longs for marriage and motherhood. One night, through no fault of her own, she is in an automobile accident that involves a child. The painful process that will bring her to accept the unacceptable follows, complicated by the slow legal process and the child’s distraught mother. Ariel Konstandinidi captures all the nuances, the emotional highs and lows of her character in this compelling feminist film.
WELL KEPT SECRETS: ATHANASIA
(KALA KRYMMENA MYSTIKA: ATHANASIA)
Dir. Panos Karkanevatos
Accompanied by her photo-journalist stepfather, a young Greek American woman travels from New York to the island of Nisyros in search of her real father. She uncovers long-hidden secrets and shatters myths that were created to protect her. In the end, she comes to understand her mother more clearly than ever before.
MODERN CLASSIC SELECTION(2000)
CHEAP SMOKES (FTINA TSIGARA)
Dir. Renos Haralambidis
In this offbeat ensemble comedy, various lost souls inhabit an almost deserted Athens on a warm summer night. Among them are two unrepentant middle aged bachelors, a poetry-reciting coffee house owner, two mobsters, a young man without a past or a future, and a young woman who has just broken up with her boyfriend, all of them pontificating on life and love.
MODERN CLASSIC SELECTION(2006)
A HERO IN ROME (ENAS IROAS STI ROMI)
Dir. Panos Angelopoulos
One of the first Greek films to do extensive shooting in a foreign country, this bittersweet road movie focuses on the adventures of a young man who goes to Rome to see his opera star idol. Instead, he falls victim to a crime that upsets everything in his life.
MODERN CLASSIC SELECTION(1958)
HE WHO MUST DIE (CELUI QUI DOIT MOURIR)
Dir. Jules Dassin
Based on the novel The Greek Passion by Nikos Kazantzakis
The residents of a small Cretan village under Turkish occupation at the end of WWI prepare to stage their annual Passion Play when they find the essence of their Christianity challenged by the arrival of a horde of starving dispossessed residents from a neighboring town. Based on the novel The Greek Passion by Nikos Kazantzakis , this rarely seen film poses the question if Christ were to return to Earth, would he be crucified once more for his beliefs?
(This film, starring Melina Mercouri, is in French with English subtitles)
AMERICAN INDEPENDENT FILM
Dir. Minos Papas
When shooting the dawn one morning, photographer Alex Santiago looks into the rising sun and hurts his eyes. As a result, he begins to see spots and blurs. When the spots become a face—an apparition of a woman—he embarks on a dark journey to discover who she is.
AMERICAN INDEPENDENT FILM
Dir. Evangelos Giovanis and George Giovanis
Chased out the door by his mother’s violent lover, young Jermain decides to play hookey from school. He tries the streets for a quick score to fix all his troubles, but this only makes things worse. Ultimately he finds himself beyond any possibility of redemption.
(Its language, situations and depictions of violence may make this film inappropriate for some viewers)
SHORT FILM PROGRAM
Curated by Minos Papas
This compilation of short films by Greek directors worldwide shows the impressive talent and exciting vision of the young filmmakers. Included are:
ONE NIGHT TOGETHER, Eleftheria Astrinaki
PAPERBOAT, Daphne Lambrinou
STYX, Alexia Roider
GUESS WHO, Eirini Konstantinidou
THE COMMANDMENTS OR THE NOSTRIL OF EKTOR KAKNAVATOS, Nickolaos Koumoundouros
GIRL, Stella Kyriakopoulos
VENI VIDI VICI, Ioannis Papaloizou
EXARCHIA: CULTURE SHOCK, Stamos Dimitropoulos
DIVERS, Panos Mavroidis
UNCLE JIMMY IN HD, Matthew Booras
(Shown randomly before feature film presentations)
I AM GAY, Direction by Nicolas Kolovos
A young man considers coming out to his family in this witty and original film by a Greek director living in Sweden.
MARIZA, Direction by Constantine Krystallis
In this charming animated film, a fisherman confronts his donkey—his very, very Greek donkey!
THE PARTHENON, Directed by Costa-Gavras
A master filmmaker brilliantly condenses the history of assault against one of the world’s great treasures.
PASHA, Direction by Fay Efrosini Lellios
Easter is celebrated in Concord, New Hampshire.
WE CALL HER DAISY, Direction by Stefan Georgiou
A young woman gives birth to a stillborn child and mourns it in her very own way.
DEMETRA’S DREAM, Direction by Francesca Bartellini
Classical mythology and reality blend in this story of a mother’s longing for her daughter.
OPUS THREE, Direction by Konstantina Kotzamani
Three simple words add to the mystery of life.
FESTIVAL PANEL DISCUSSIONS
KAZAN ON KAZAN A celebration of Elia Kazan in his centenary year
PLAYERS CLUB, 16 Gramercy Park South, NYC Dan Georgakas, a long-time editor of Cineaste Magazine and frequent writer on Kazan, will screen clips of Kazan on Kazan as part of a conversation with noted critic Foster Hirsch, star of “America America” Stathis Giallelis, and writer Peter Balakian. This program is sponsored by the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce and the Players Club in conjunction with the Film Forum’s current Kazan retrospective.
AN IRREVERENT GUIDE TO FILMMAKING: EVERY PROJECT HAS A STORY
Moderated by Norman Cohen, former Hollywood producer and founder of the Academy of Cinema, an international English-speaking film and Video academy based at the Karamanos Studio in Athens, Greece
Panelists: Alexis Kardaras (writer, director) George Stamou (producer) Joey Carey (writer, director) Christopher Kikis (producer) Vangelos Giovanis (writer, director, actor) George Giovanis (director, actor)