Ready for its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sofia Exarchou’s debut feature looks back to the glorious past of a country in constant crisis and forward to an unknown future.
Isolated and abandoned, surrounded by decaying sport venues, the Athens Olympic Village is today a near-deserted place, its only residents a few working class families offered free housing following the 2004 Games. Stuck inside the Village, a group of boys wander around the ruins playing distorted versions of Olympic games and organizing dog matings for money. The eldest of the gang, Dimitris(17) along with Anna, a retired athlete of 22, will try to escape the confines of the Village for the seaside Β- class resorts in the outskirts of Athens. During their visits and as they penetrate more and more into the lives of the foreign tourists, Dimitris’ desire for acceptance is tested in brutal ways.
Sofia Exarchou’s feature debut is a coming-of-age story located in the now abandoned Village of the Olympic Games 2004, and as the director says: “Through the intersecting stories of the kids of the Olympic Village, ‘Park’ tries to create the portrayal of a lost generation that has been deprived of its future. Among the abandoned sport facilities, the ruins and the new-money tourist resorts, the film crosses Greece’s ‘glorious’ past with the decadence of today, depicting a society unprepared for the brutal fall. In this remnant from the past, the kids’ need to belong is vital and their efforts increasingly violent and futile.”
As the festival programmer Dimitri Eipides mentions in his note for “Park” at the TIFF catalogue:
Exarchou’s film communicates all of this with limited dialogue. She relies instead on the performance of her non-professional actors and the slipstream flow of the camera to convey the delicate details that define the characters. Offering a fresh, raw burst of unmediated authenticity, Park brings to mind the romantic punk anarchism of Larry Clark and his documentary-like approach to studying teenagers at the cusp of puberty and on society’s outskirts. In this film, gestures speak louder than words as movement and performance become tools for signifying the physical passage into adulthood. Exarchou’s impressive debut raises a jubilant fist in the air, defying fatalism and calling for the endurance of the individual in the face of Greece’s uncertain future.
The director and screenwriter Sofia Exarchou, the leading actor (Dimitris Kitsos), leading actress (Dimitra Vlagkopoulou) and the famous Danish actor (“Festen”, “The Hunt”) Thomas Bo Larsen talk to Flix about the making of the film, the dreams of a whole generation and the ways to make a first film in Greece right now.
Watch the exclusive video below:
After its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival (section “Discovery”), “Park” will compete in the New Directors’ Section at the San Sebastian Film Festival at the end of September. During the fall 2016, it will be screened at the BFI London Film Festival and Warsaw Film Festival, among other film festivals around the world.
Faliro House Presents a Faliro House / Neda Film Production in co-production with Greek Film Center ERT Madants Sofia Exarchou Line Producer Yorgos Papadimitriou Hair Chronis Tzimos Makeup Kiriaki Melidou Costumes Marli Aliferi Sets Pinelopi Valti Sound Stefanos Efthimiou Costas Varypobiotis Persefoni Miliou Valia Tsirou Editor Yorgos Mavropsaridis Sofia Exarchou Music The Boy Director of Photography Monika Lenczewska PSC Associate Producers Klaudia Śmieja Beata Rzeźniczek Producers Amanda Livanou Christos V. Konstantakopoulos Written & Directed by Sofia Exarchou Cast Dimitris Kitsos Dimitra Vlagkopoulou Enuki Gvenatadze Lena Kitsopoulou Yorgos Pandeleakis & Thomas Bo Larsen
Supported by the Sundance Institute & the Onassis Foundation