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Realism with a poetic dimension at Thessaloniki film fest

By Panayiotis Panagopoulos

Realistic stories, many of which have also been endowed with a poetic dimension, comprise the core of the International Competition of the 53rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which wraps us this Sunday with an award ceremony.

In both “Epilogue,” by Israel’s Amir Manor, and “Amour” (Palme d’Or at Cannes), by Austria’s Michael Haneke, the directors address the relationships between elderly couples, condensing into the space of one day their physical decline and their growing sense of uselessness, each from different angles.

In “Epilogue,” the story of Hayuta and Berl, who can no longer afford the essentials as Berl continues to cling to a youthful political idealism that no longer has a place in this world, Manor approaches his subject with sensitivity and humor. Haneke, in contrast, shows the life of Georges and Anne as one of pure suffering after she suffers a stroke that leaves her partially paralyzed.

“A Hijacking” (photo) by Denmark’s Tobias Lindholm, is a well-directed drama with thriller elements documenting the story of the hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates. There are tense moments in this film as the director of the Danish shipping company undertakes the lengthy negotiations for the release of his crew.

“Boy Eating the Bird’s Food” –- one of the two Greek films competing -– by Ektoras Lygizos follows Giorgos (played by Yiannis Papadopoulos) as he struggles to survive in his home without electricity, without food and without companionship, save a canary. This is an unusual film that may alienate part of its audience with its particular narrative style, but it has a very clear goal.

In contrast, Ilias Yiannakakis’s “Joy,” the story of a woman who snatches a baby from a hospital and commits a murder in order to protect the infant, lacks clarity. Most of the film is set in the woman’s prison cell and the courtroom where she is being tried, though her motives are never really made clear.

Other films in competition are “A Month in Thailand” by Paul Negoescu (Romania), “Aqui y alla” by Antonio Mendez Esparza (Spain-USA-Mexico), “I Am Not a Hipster” by Destin Daniel Cretton (USA), “Kinshasa Kids” by Marc-Henri Wajnberg (Belgium-France), “Living” by Vassily Sigarev (Russia), “Loving” by Sawomir Fabicki (Poland), “Mold” by Ali Aydin (Turkey-Germany), “Our Little Differences” by Sylvie Michel (Germany), “Southwest” by Eduardo Nunes (Brazil), “Taboor” by Vahid Vakilifar (Iran) and “The Color of the Chameleon” by Emil Christov (Bulgaria).

ekathimerini.com , Friday November 9, 2012 (20:36)  
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