Penny’s pick of the flicks

With nearly 30 films to be screened at the festival, Penny Kyprianou, director of the Greek Film Festival, gives her 'hot picks' of this year's festival.

This year’s 20th Greek Film Festival is a sterling line-up of Greek cinema. And, not to mention the inclusion of the 4th Greek Australian Short Film Festival, the 4th Greek Student Film Festival and –
for this year only – a Best of Program that will celebrate the 20 year anniversary of this institution.

A.C.A.B All Cats are Brilliant:
“Constantine Voulgaris, daughter of acclaimed director Pantelis Voulgaris (Brides), makes an insightful commentary on human relationships using rebellious characters and a stellar cast. There’s an activist in all of us.”
Constantina Voulgaris – daughter of acclaimed filmmaker, Pantelis Voulgaris (Anna’s Engagement, Brides) – professes an interest in “making feature films about the difficulties in human relationships”, something she does so eloquently with A.C.A.B.
Her heroine is Electra (Maria Georgiadou) – a 30-something non-conformist who has a jailed anarchist for a boyfriend (Dimitris Xanthopoulos), reformed hippies for parents (Themis Bazaka and Kostas Ganotis) and considers the eight-year-old boy she babysits (Alexis Harisis) as her best friend.
Struggling to fit into this lonely and cruel world, Elektra finds focus in the planning of a large activist event. Will she also find her rhythm in life?

4th Greek Australian Short Film Festival:
“An innovative lineup of locally made short films screening on November 21.”
The GFF program also houses a selection of nine Greek shorts including Athina Rachel Tsangari’s (Attenberg, GFF 2011) hauntingly beautiful short The Capsule, which has screened in numerous festivals including Toronto and Sundance, and You Know What? I Love You – a debut from Melbourne filmmaker Natalie Cunningham, a joyous meditation on family, heartbreak, adversity, and memory.
The other titles that make up this year’s 4th Greek Australian Short Films Festival include: Best Friend (Koraly Dimitriadis and Nathan Little); Car Lady & Bike Girl (Maria Theodorakis); Dave’s Dead (Alethea Jones); Duke and Wyndsor (Stella Dimadis); Father’s Day (Jason Raftopoulos); Joey (John Evagora); The Maker (Christopher Kezelos).

Do Not Forget Me Istanbul
“Reminiscent of Paris je t’aime, Do Not Forget Me Istanbul is as beautiful as it heartbreaking. An ode to the historically rich city of Istanbul, the film combines seven stories, made by seven different directors, as a reminder that the city belongs to many people. The stories Otel(o) and Almost are two very witty favourites.”

Seven talented filmmakers of different nationalities – united by their experiences of living in Istanbul – come together in a portmanteau feature to remind audiences that this cosmopolitan city does not only belong to the Turkish people.
Each filmmaker directs a 15-minute short film using modern-day Istanbul (and local crews) as the backdrop for character vignettes that intertwine with the city’s monuments, architecture and street markets. Just as Paris, je t’aime and New York I Love You honour their respective cities, Do Not Forget Me Istanbul presents the old Ottoman capital as a living, breathing protagonist profoundly affecting all who encounter it.

What If…:
“Sexy, and with an addictive soundtrack that includes Lana Del Rey, What If… seeks to answer the question we all ask ourselves from time to time. Parallel stories run in a Sliding Doors style of storytelling, to reveal an unexpected ending.”
With the economic crisis as its backdrop, What if… shows two opposing perspectives in a Sliding Doors style of storytelling: one of a bachelor; the other of a couple in love.
Demetris (the film’s director Christoforos Papakaliatis) shares his relatively normal life with a German Shepherd dog. When his canine friend begs to be walked one night, Demetris unwittingly stands on the precipice of a life-changing decision. If he goes out, he will meet Christina (Marina Kalogirou), the love of his life. If he stays at home, he will not.
“I want them [foreign audiences] to feel more supportive of Greeks [after watching this film] because, right now, the Greek people need a lot of support.
But history has shown that Greeks are always winners,” says filmmaker Christoforos Papakaliatis.

“We’re so used to Olga Malea’s comedies, (First Time Godfather, Risotto, Honey and the Pig) that it’s hard to imagine this thriller-drama was made by the same director. At times uncomfortable, Marjoram is the story of a young gifted girl who shows signs of rebellion and the painful unveiling of what has driven her to abandon her talents.”
The first thriller-drama from a filmmaker celebrated by Greek audiences for her comedies, Marjoram shines a revealing, psychological light into the dark corners of a mother-daughter relationship.
Eleven-year-old overachiever Anna (Maria Riskaki) is driven by being the perfect daughter and impressing her demanding mother (Natalia Dragoumi).
Anna’s ambition sees her enter a TV cooking competition, however, it’s not long before she starts behaving strangely, puzzling her parents and prompting concerns for her safety. Why is this child, who seems so happy, acting so unpredictably?
Marjoram nearly became a casualty of Greece’s economic volatility, with its director, Olga Malea, having to pick up the production tab after funding was withdrawn.

Love in the End:
“A feel good story about love and hope. One of the lighter films in the program, Love in the End is based on three true stories of unrequited love, submitted as part of a campaign that ran for Lacta chocolate in Greece.”
Fairytales do come true in Love in the End – a film with a heart of gold, infinite commercial appeal, and the ability to leave audiences with a big smile on their faces.
The three true stories that get ‘remastered’ with their happy endings are those of a girl on a cruise who falls in love with the ship’s lieutenant, only to leave him at the dock; a boy secretly wooing his best friend through a fake Facebook profile; and two strangers who spend a glorious night together only to lose each other’s contact details.
These are also stories about the beauty, dizziness, secrets and revelations of love, filmed on location in Athens, Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Istanbul with a cast of very attractive actors. Appropriately, Love in the End was released in Greek cinemas on Valentines Day.