Six average guys are on a private yacht in the Aegean Sea for who-really-knows-what reason. When a mechanical hiccup leaves them marooned at sea, they choose to wile away the time playing a game of one-upmanship called ‘Chevalier’. Amid the penis measuring, Ikea furniture assemblage and comparison of cellular ringtones, an insightful and wry unpicking of human male pack behaviour occurs, as well as the revelation of personalities within the pack. But, as one of the participants admits, “Even if you win, it doesn’t mean you’re best in general.”
Three separate narratives each following a love story between a foreigner and a Greek. Each story represents a different generation falling in love during a time of socioeconomic turmoil that dominates Southern Europe as a whole, only to connect as a single story in the end.
Kostis arrives on the little island of Antiparos in the middle of winter where he is the new GP. What starts as a drab community transforms into an island paradise as soon as the summer swings around. When the much younger, sexually liberated tourist Anna arrives, Kostis does everything he can to impress her, even if it means outstaying his welcome. A visually seductive depiction of a Greek summer, Suntan is an enthralling exercise in voyeurism and the violent depths of one man’s obsession.
The Lobster is a love story set in a dystopian future. In this future, according to the rules of The City, single people are arrested and transferred to The Hotel. Upon check-in, they are obliged to find a love match in 45 days and, if they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into The Woods. David, a desperate Man, escapes from The Hotel to The Woods where The Loners live. Unwittingly, he falls in love, although ‘coupling’ is against the rules of The Loners who live in proud defiance of The City.
Stories of terminal cancer are unlikely to be audience favourites but Smac well and truly bucks this trend with its profound, loving and ultimately fulfilling depiction of one woman’s fight against her mortality. Eleni is a middle-aged gay woman who has just been diagnosed with cancer. After overcoming the initial shock, she’s given a chance to look at her life in a different way. She brings a homeless man into her home to stave off her fear of dying alone but soon realises it is not death she fears – it is something else.
A series of secret journals were found buried beneath an olive tree on the island of Trikeri, the site of a concentration camp during the Greek Civil War of 1946 to 1949. Inside were stories of thousands of everyday women – political exiles – accused of crimes they did not commit.
Despite being suppressed for years, their stories were so fierce they stretched across the decades to inspire a young Greek woman in New York, Stavroula Toska, to track down the few surviving women who were teenagers at the time. Two of the original notebook writers even emerged. And little did she know that asking her own mother a simple question about the civil war would change her life forever.
A young opera singer in her final year of studies in Poland is struck by a mysterious affliction that renders her unable to speak. She returns to her intellectual family in Greece but finds they treat her – and her silence – with hostility. She detaches herself and retreats into an isolated world where she spirals into the darkness of the past.
A poor man has one purpose in life: to immigrate to America. But when that moment comes thanks to the help of a loyal friend and his fiancée, he gets sidetracked and all dreams of greater things fall through.
The first Greek film to make official selection at the Cannes Film Festival in a decade and winner of the festival’s prestigious Un Certain Regard award, the highly stylised and absurdist Dogtooth sees a father and mother construct a domestic ‘Eden’ where their docile teens can be protected from a contaminated world.
Unfolding in a deadpan fashion with a satirical black comic vein, the film depicts a hermetically enclosed compound, which even has its own innocuous vocabulary, where a ‘vagina’ is a keyboard, a ‘zombie’ is a yellow flower and cats are considered ruthless predators. Very few outsiders venture inside their walls, until the father engages a female security worker to assist his son with a necessary bodily function – sexual release.
Under company auspices known as Alps, a paramedic who calls himself Mont Blanc creates a ‘service for hire’ where the employees – a nurse, a gymnast and her coach – stand in for dead people by appointment, as hired by the relatives, friends or colleagues of the deceased. Although the paramedic as leader demands a strict discipline regime from his employees, the nurse thinks otherwise.