Fascinating insights into the world-view from Greece on show at the 24th Greek Film Festival.
Movie still: Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell in The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
The organisers of the 24th annual Greek Film Festival are rightly proud that the Australian Festival is the biggest showcase of Greek cinema outside its homeland – bigger even than the festivals in America.
This year’s Festival opened in style at the Palace Cinemas with a gala screening of the 2016 hit Roza of Smyrna. Praised as the Romeo and Juliet of Greco-Turkish relations, this is a love story that spans sixty years and a difficult period in history between the two countries.
Lida Protopsalti stars as the grandmother who is finally reunited with her one true love. Amazingly this is Protopsalti’s first starring role in a feature film in her 66-year career as an acclaimed stage actress. Whilst the plot is too contrived to be really satisfying, the excellent performances do make it an enjoyable and sentimental journey.
Another love story, 2015’s Ouzeri Tsitsanis, is the special feature for the Festival’s closing night. This is the story of a Jewish girl and a Christian boy during the Nazi occupation of Thessaloniki.
The Festival includes 17 features and 15 shorts and also including a number of documentaries. However, while they all tell Greek stories, or stories from a Greek perspective, the films chosen have been made by Greek filmmakers across the world, offering a diversity of themes and genres.
In other Festival highlights, Australia’s screen darling Nicole Kidman stars with Colin Farrell in the new psychological thriller The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
Cannes veteran Tony Gatlif’s new film Djam is a big-hearted, life-affirming musical about a free-spirited Greek woman and a lost French woman hit the road together.
And The Other Me, winner of the Audience Award at Thessaloniki Film Festival, is an engaging crime thriller about five murders seemingly linked only by cryptic Pythagoras quotes.
The Shorts program includes some little gems about everything from sport to poetry slams and Rubik’s Cube champions.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
The Delphi Bank 24th Greek Film Festival runs nationally in October at Palace Cinemas.