Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
Greece, 2010. Haos Film, Faliro House Productions, Boo Productions, Stefi S.A., Greek Film Center, MEDIA Programme of the European Union. Screenplay by Athina Rachel Tsangari. Cinematography by Thimios Bakatakis. Produced by Maria Hatzakou, Yorgos Lanthimos, Iraklis Mavroidis, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Angelos Venetis. Production Design by Dafni Kalogianni. Costume Design by Thanos Papastergiou, Vasileia Rozana. Film Editing by Sandrine Cheyrol, Matthew Johnson.
Ariane Labed makes a startling film debut as a young woman disconnected from the few people she shares her dull factory town with. Her father is dying and she is not overly sensitive about it, her only other companion is a friend of whom she asks advice on human banalities, like french kissing, but also frequently accuses of being a drain on her life.
Labed’s exploration of human connectivity is mainly through her love of David Attenborough documentaries, but when she meets a man (filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, in real life Labed’s husband) at a bar, she strikes up an affair with him that threatens her desire to go against the theory that no man (or woman) is an island.
Striking imagery and strong direction make Athina Rachel Tsangari’s breakthrough film a welcome antidote to Lanthimos’ snobbier Dogtooth, both emerging from the same school of extreme Greek art cinema. Here we get the sense of a world off kilter without the didactic allegory, and a harsh lack of sentimentality without any emphasis on the grotesque.
Intelligent and refreshingly unpretentious, it is marred only by its fair share of navel-gazing that will challenge your dedication.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2010
Venice Film Festival Award: Best Actress (Ariane Labed)