Hellenic cinema has traditionally been blessed with captivating, inspiring, and outside the box productions that can really capture the imagination. The 24th Greek Film Festival of Sydney will once again provide a platform for Hellenic filmmakers to showcase their creations.
Films have come from all over the Hellenic world with a range of familiar filmmakers bringing their creations to the big screen.
From Yorgos Lanthimos’ (The Lobster) new thriller The Killing of a Sacred Deer, to Australian documentary Dogs of Democracy, to uplifting road film Djam, and the forbidden love story Ouzeri Tsitsanis, the festival will bring audiences stories that are thought-provoking and memorable.
The Sydney event will showcase 17 films, with 15 shorts all making the big screen at Leichhardt between 10 and 22 October. Sydney audiences will get to see Hollywood heavyweights Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and some of the finest talent in the Hellenic world, set in locations such as Thessaloniki, Athens, Cyprus, Kastoria, Lesvos, and more.
For those who remember the 2003 award-winning Touch of Spice that transcended Greek–Turkish politics, a new and similarly brilliant film will captivate cinema goers: Roza of Smyrna. The film, rightfully praised as the Greco–Turkish Romeo and Juliet, will open the festival. Featuring much celebrated theatre actor Lida Protopsalti in her first cinematic starring role in her 66-year career, the film follows an art collector who unravels a story of star-crossed lovers from almost a century ago. The movie is set around tense Greek and Turkish relations in the 1980s. Roza of Smyrna is shot in Athens, Lesvos, and Constantinople (Istanbul).
Having mentioned A Touch of Spice, its director Tassos Boulmetis returns with comedy drama Mythopathy. A rare sufferer of ‘mythopathy’ allows the protagonist to reshape reality whenever he suffers a broken heart.
For those who cried during the 2015 screening of Little England where many a heart was broken, be prepared for another powerful love story starring Andreas Konstantinou from that film on closing night with Ouzeri Tsitsanis. The film follows the forbidden love between a Jewish girl and Christian boy in Nazi-occupied Thessaloniki, who find refuge in a tavern run by seminal Greek songwriter Vassilis Tsitsanis.
From WWII to another war drama, this time in Cyprus. The Story of the Green Line by political activist filmmaker Panicos Chrissanthou is a provocative war drama following two Cypriots from warring sides who embark on dangerous secret journeys together behind enemy lines.
Other picks include the psychological thriller The Killing of a Sacred Deer which follows a surgeon who must make an unthinkable sacrifice when his relationship with a teenage boy turns sinister.
A theme of young people continues with Boy on the Bridge, based on Eve Makis’ novel The Land of the Golden Apple, a gripping drama about a young boy who discovers a dark family secret in the midst of a murder investigation.
Djam is for fans of musicals and takes us on a road trip through Turkey to Lesvos. The performance of Belgian Greek Daphne Patakia is one to watch in a film by Cannes veteran Tony Gatlif. This is a big-hearted, life affirming take on the migrant situation via a free spirited Greek woman and a lost French woman. Another road trip is the Hellenic answer to The Hangover, The Bachelor is another one to check out which takes us to Thessaloniki on a surprise bachelor get away that doesn’t go as planned for the organiser, the bride!
Amerika Square is the Greek candidate for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 Oscars, and follows a racist Greek nationalist who poisons immigrants with laced bread.
Finally, fans of a good documentary should check out 90 Years of PAOK: Nostalgia for the Future. As a Manchester United supporter, I am intrigued by any team with a history as long as my team and one with passionate servants to the club.
Dogs of Democracy from Australian director Mary Zournazi and producer Tom Zubrycki is a dog lover’s film and follows the lives of stray dogs in Athens, and the people who take care of them. The documentary provides an insight into a problem that is evident in many places in the Mediterranean.
The president of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, enthused to Neos Kosmos, “this will be one of the best celebrations of Greek cinema that Australia has seen. With thousands expected to attend, we gratefully thank our sponsors, especially Delphi Bank for their outstanding support.”
See you at the film festival.
When: Tuesday 10 October – Sunday 22 October
Where: Palace Norton Street, 99 Norton St, Leichhardt, NSW.
The 24th Greek Film Festival is also showing in Darwin, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, and Perth. For programme details and bookings visit greekfilmfestival.com.au