Director’s new feature film fails, despite good intentions

Watching Dimitris Panayiotatos’s new feature film, «I Triti Nychta» (The Third Night), audiences will be left wondering about the divergence between what the director believes he is shooting and the final result. The director’s great affection for suspense, thriller and fantasy elements was as evident in his previous three films (the most recent being «Monaxia Mou Ola»), as it is in «The Third Night,» which he defines as a mystery thriller. The film’s plot – which is recorded in calendar form featuring hour and date – focuses on four women and the way in which each of them is related to a possible victim of a missing plane. One woman is living with her 16-year-old daughter and her new husband in a opulent mansion, while another, equally well-off, has just given birth; a third one is waiting on a yacht. The mother and the daughter are worried about the fate of the ex-husband and father, the second woman believes that her newborn child’s father has gone missing (the baby, by the way, is abducted soon after it’s born) while the third is worried about her lover. Are these three different characters or perhaps the same one featuring a triple identity? Let’s not divulge the secret out of respect for the director, who does not wish to reveal the film’s ending. It must be admitted, however, that it was quite difficult to sit through the entire film waiting for all three nights of (sheer) agony to unravel – including blackmail, a kidnapping, a murder, and a series of other unconvincing subplots. No one doubts the director’s good intentions – of making a «mystery thriller.» The final result, however, offers all the elements of a soap opera, and is as removed from the desired genre as much as «Dynasty» is from Ingmar Bergman’s «Fanny and Alexander.» Sadly, Panayiotatos fails completely: In the uneasy acting, it is hard to recognize actors such as Dimitra Hatoupi and Minas Hadzisavvas, while the dialogue is childish. Only one question remains unanswered: Why did Panayiotatos make this film in the first place?

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