Not one, not two, but four Greek films (and one from a Greek director based in Berlin) will be screening at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival Forum this year.
January 16th ought to be proclaimed Greek Film Day, as the Berlinale just announced the full Forum lineup – the festival’s most groundbreaking section, always seeking to highlight new talent from all over the world – which just so happens to include four films made and crafted by Greek filmmakers plus one from a Greek director based in Berlin.
What more proof do you need that homegrown cinema is alive and well and can still attract major attention overseas? Greek cinema is undoubtedly the healthiest slice of Greek culture in a country that’s struggling to stay afloat, giving young filmmakers every reason to stay active, despite the adversity.
The first film to hit this year’s Berlinale Forum is "The Daughter" the third feature by Thanos Anastopoulos, who returns to the same section that played host to "Correction", his previous full-length effort, in 2008. With a prior domestic release in Greek theaters, "The Daughter" tells the coming-of-age story of a 14-year-old girl in credit crunch Greece through a tough and rather bleak exploration of the moral and financial bankruptcy of an entire nation.
The second locally produced film that’s screening at the Forum is "The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas.", Elina Psykou’s ambitious debut, which had already attracted attention after winning the Works in Progress Award at Karlovy Vary (click here to read more). The film tells the story of a television presenter (played by Christos Stergioglou – the father in Yorgos Lanthimos’ "Dogtooth") who orchestrates his own disappearance and finds refuge in an isolated hotel, convinced this is the only way to guarantee his "immortality".
The third film that’s screening at the Forum is "To The Wolf", a feature-length docu-fiction by Aran Hughes & Christina Koutsospyrou, a co-production between Greece and France. A mixture of documentary and fiction, "To The Wolf" narrates four days in the life of an isolated village in western Greece, whose inhabitants (the main cast) are struggling to survive the credit crunch and the bad weather conditions.
The fourth and final Greek film to screen at the Berlinale comes from South Africa (with Greek co-production) and has been shot will an all-local cast. "Fynbos" is the first feature effort of filmmaker Harry Patramanis (official selection at the Durban International Film Festival and the Slamdance Official Competition Section), who has finally made the transition to full-length narrative after an illustrious career in advertising and shorts. “Fynbos” tells the story of an ambitious real estate developer on the verge of bankruptcy, who travels with his wife to an isolated corner of the Western Cape in order to seal a deal that could save his fortune.
In addition "Echelot", a feature film by Athanasios Karanikolas (an all German Production), focuses on the social interactions within a large group of friends, who have got together in a house in the countryside following the suicide of one of their friends. Athanasios Karanikolas’ fiction debut captures the atmosphere of the gathering as it gradually slips out of control.
The 63rd International Film Festival will take place from the 7th till the 17th of February 2013.