Dir. Athina Rachel Tsangari
Marina is a young woman whose eccentricities barely mask her unhappiness and dysfunction. She lives in a grim factory town with her once visionary architect father who is dying. Even as she braces for his imminent death, she somewhat belatedly, at the age of 23, tries to come to terms with her sexuality, depending on her only friend Bella for much needed lessons in sex education. This intriguing unconventional film is the Greek entry for best foreign film Academy Award consideration this year. It is the first Greek film to play the Sundance Festival. Ariane Labed won the best actress award at the Venice Film Festival in 2010 for her portrayal of Marina.
Dir. Christina Ioakeimidi
A young school teacher involved in a personally damaging affair with a married man suddenly finds herself the unwilling target of a school bus driver’s affections. He is unsophisticated and aggressive but also passionate and tenacious. This gentle comedy takes on the time-honored theme of opposites attracting while attempting to understand the elusive nature of charisma.
GOLD DUST (CHRYSOSKONI)
Dir. Margarita Manda
Living in a city that is rapidly changing and not always for the better, three siblings argue over the pending sale of their mother’s house. In the process, they learn something about the importance of family and how to truly honor the past as they face the future.
Dir. Yannis Economides
Following the death of his father, Nikos leaves the provinces to go to Athens and move in with his brutish uncle to work at protecting his uncle’s purebred dogs from feuding neighbors. Stuck in the bleak outskirts of the city, Nikos finds the dynamic of his relationship with his uncle changing when his uncle’s wife draws closer to him. Responding perhaps to the director’s claim that his film shows “the modern face”
of their country, Greek audiences turned out in large numbers to see this relentlessly gritty film noir. It won seven Hellenic Film Academy Awards earlier this year, including best picture, best director and best cinematography.
MY SWEET CANARY (KANARINI MOU GLYKO)
Dir. Roy Sher
Three young musicians—an Israeli, a Turk and a British-born GreekCypriot—embark on a mission to tell the story and explore the music of legendary Greek singer Rosa Eskenazy. A Sephardic Jew, Eskenazy rose to fame in the 1920s and became the most recorded singer of “rebetika.” Many of her songs (originally sung in Greek, Turkish, Armenian and Ladino) are reprised in this rousingly exuberant documentary.
Dir. Christos Nikoleris
The story of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, complete with charming balcony scene, is updated to a contemporary Athenian migrant setting, picking up shades of Homer along the way. Goran, a young Russian, falls in love with Julia, the daughter of Muslim immigrants from Albania. Trapped in a cycle of racial tensions and ethnic violence, the two struggle to find a way for their love to triumph. Featuring a cast of attractive young newcomers, this romantic drama is beautifully photographed and tautly edited. Its ending blends Shakespeare and Homer in a resonating statement of the power of love.
STRELLA: A WOMAN’S WAY (STRELLA)
Dir. Panos Koutras
Released from prison after serving fourteen years, Yorgos begins an affair with Strella, a pre-op transsexual prostitute, never imagining how much they have in common. Relentless in its realistic depiction of the gay world in today’s Athens, the film offers a bold view of an alternative lifestyle while telling a powerful and heartbreaking story about the accommodations people make in the name of love. A most eloquent representative of the new Greek cinema, “Strella” has found audiences and earned praise all over the world but remains largely unseen in the US. It is reprised from last year’s festival where it earned standing ovations from audiences.
THE PROMISE OF TOMORROW 1940-1960
Dir. Anna Giannotis
This documentary, produced by the Greek Heritage Society of Southern California, examines the experiences of first and second generation Greek Americans as they become integral parts of the community as a whole while maintaining their unique cultural identity. Narrated by Olympia Dukakis.
A panel discussion featuring the director will follow the screening.
Dir. Giorgos Georgopoulos
This metaphorically titled episodic drama, named for the metal with the highest melting point, tells three stories of Athenians living recklessly close to the edge: a tram ticket inspector struggling to support his family; a job recruiter with anger control issues;
and two idle teenagers with a gun. Played against a menacing urban landscape, the stories come together in a totally unexpected way in this most impressive feature film debut by director Giorgos Georgopoulos.
The festival showings are the North American premiere of this film.