A.C.A.B. ALL CATS ARE BRILLIANT
(SYNHARITIRIA STOUS AISIODOXOUS)
Dir. Constantina Voulgari
Thirty-something Electra, an artist and activist, lives in a world that dispels her ideals and holds her back from realizing her aspirations. Her boyfriend is in jail for anarchist activities, and her parents don’t understand her. Struggling to find a place for herself, she forges a friendship with a young boy who is in her charge and reaches out to various people she meets. With the economic crisis looming large, Electra searches to find new meaning and hope in life, without compromising her integrity.
Dir. Gerasimos Rigas
Rehearsals for a performance at the National School of Dance in Athens become a study in the eloquence of the human body as director Gerasimos Rigas focuses his camera on the fine details and small gestures of young dancers in training.
BOY EATING THE BIRD’S FOOD
(TO AGORI TROEI TO FAGITO TOY POULIOU)
Dir. Ektoras Lygizos
A haunted young man, estranged from friends and family, lives on the brink of starvation in today’s Athens. When not sharing his pet bird’s seeds, he pilfers food from an elderly neighbor and roams the streets foraging scraps of food from the garbage. Director Ektoras Lygizos sees his film “a kind of case study” of the current economic crisis.
GREEK AMERICAN RADICALS: THE UNTOLD STORY
Dir. Kostas Vakkas
Screenplay: Kostis Karpozilos
True to its title, this documentary focuses on the relatively unknown history of Greek American radicalism, from the period of mass migration to the McCarthy years. A valuable document in the history of Greek Americans, this film captures the collective struggles and radical ideas of working people in an era of social upheaval, persecutions and disillusion ments.
Dir. Chrysovalantis Stamelos
Lured by the stories about Smyrna and Asia Minor that he had heard as a child, young Greek American Chrysovalantis Stamelos leaves his corporate job in the United States and moves to Turkey, homeland of his great-grand parents. Determined to reconnect with his roots in Anatolia, he explores neighborhoods, interviews Greeks living in Smyrna and Istanbul, and immerses himself in the art and culture he encounters. Wonderfully picturesque and informative, this documentary is a record of self discovery as well as a heartfelt effort to build a bridge between two peoples.
Dir. Elias Giannakakis
Amalia Moutoussi was named Best Actress by the Hellenic Film Academy this year for her intriguing portrayal of Hara, a woman who kidnaps an infant from a clinic and proceeds to raise it as her own. When the baby’s life is threatened, she takes drastic action to save the baby’s life and is arrested as a result. Her subsequent trial proves to be a travesty of justice.
KISSES TO THE CHILDREN
(FILIA EIS TA PAIDIA)
Dir. Vassilis Loules
Five Jews give eloquent accounts of how they were saved as children by fellow Greeks during the German occupation. Focusing primarily on the young and on how they contend with a reality they cannot possibly understand, this engrossing documentary shows the life-long effects of early traumas and offers psychological insights into the experience of survival. Poignant and enthralling, this documentary is a most impressive addition to the rich archive of Holocaust films.
Dir. & Screenplay Kostas Kapakas
The surprise hit of last year’s festival comes back to charm New York audiences once again. Two hapless men—an unemployed cuckolded husband and a failed filmmaker who moonlights as a hotel clerk and part time undertaker—seek refuge from their Driving a seriously decrepit hearse, they embark on an odyssey into the beautiful Greek countryside and in the process expose considerable rot. No level of Greek society is spared from satirical scrutiny. From outrageously corrupt politicians to amoral citizens, no one is left unscathed in this quirky, funny but sobering road movie.
Dir. Olga Malea
Anna is a precocious and talented 11-year old intent upon pleasing her demanding mother. Soon after joining a cooking competition on television, the child begins to act strangely, puzzling her parents and causing concern for her own safety.
NAKED HANDS (GYMNA HERIA)
Dir. Giorgos Skevas
Using stunning archival footage, Giorgos Skevas documents the career of the great Greek conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos at the helm of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Adding insight into the maestro’s life and personality are excerpts from his letters to his long-term friend Kaiti Katsogianni, read by noted actor and stage director Lefteris Voyiatzis. The title refers to the fact that Mitropoulos conducted without a baton.
ONE STEP AHEAD (ENA VIMA BROSTA)
Dir. Dimitirs Athiridis
With the country sinking into economic crisis and the city of Thessaloniki mired in political corruption and dysfunction, successful wine producer Yiannis Boutaris decides to run for mayor. Provocative and unconventional, the politically progressive Boutaris proves himself to be a determined candidate as he challenges the establishment, outraging the power elite as well as conservative voters. Director Dimitris Athiridis creates an engaging documentary as he records Boutaris in private moments and on the campaign trail, right up to election day when he finds himself in a neck-to-neck race to City Hall.
PAPADOPOULOS & SONS
Dir. & Screenplay Marcus Markou
Following his ruin in the latest banking crisis, self-made millionaire Harry Papadopoulos reluctantly reunites with his estranged, free-wheeling brother to re-open the abandoned fish and chip shop they ran in their youth. As the shop returns to life, old memories are stirred, and Harry discovers that only when you lose everything can you be free to find it all.
THE TREE AND THE SWING (TO DENTRO KAI I KOUNIA)
Dir. Maria Douza
At a time when she faces a major change in her life, Eleni, a successful London cardiologist, decides to return to Greece and attempt to reconcile with her estranged father. When she and her young daughter arrive, they find that nothing is as they had expected. Uncovering long-hidden family secrets and confronting the realities of her life, Eleni ultimately reaches a new level of self awareness in this beautifully filmed and gripping story of repentance, acceptance and love.
WHAT IF (AN)
Dir. Christopher Papakaliatis
Popular actor Christopher Papakaliatis has taken the precarious nature of life as his subject in his directorial debut and has made an immensely appealing romantic movie. His two parallel stories of a seemingly confirmed bachelor living in Athens show how life can be forever changed by a chance encounter or an action not taken, confirming how mysterious, dangerous yet enthralling life can be.
DOUBLE FEATURE – A program of two extraordinary “mid-length” films.
A BRIGHT SHINING SUN
Dir. Vassilis Loules
In this modern classic, director Vassilis Loules tells the story of Natasha, a Russian immigrant, seeking her place in the Greek sun.
Dir. Chris Emmanouoilides
A family trip to Greece inspires this reflection on the end of traditional photography and the birth of the Digital Age.