Greek film goes Dutch

In another promising development for the Greek film industry, following Tuesday?s announcement by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that Yorgos Lanthimos?s ?Dogtooth? will be competing in the Best Foreign Language Film category for an Oscar on February 27, another local filmmaker traveled to Rotterdam to attend the world premiere of his second feature film, which opened the Dutch city?s international film festival on January 26.

Argyris Papadimitropoulos, whose first feature film was the hit Greek comedy caper ?Bank Bang? in 2008, has teamed up with Ecuador-born and Hamburg-raised filmmaker Jan Vogel to co-direct ?Wasted Youth,? a drama and the first-ever Greek film to open an international film festival outside Greek borders.

Also in the running for a Tiger Award at Rotterdam, ?Wasted Youth? is a contemporary Greek tale that addresses the strained relationship between the country?s youth and the authorities — an issue that rose to prominence after the fatal shooting of a teenager in December 2008 by a policeman, which sparked widespread riots and fueled young people?s animosity toward authority figures.

The film focuses on a connection between a teenager and a policeman on a hot day in central Athens.

The 16-year-old spends his summer skateboarding and hanging out with his friends while the middle-aged policeman struggles to make ends meet and survive in a job he ultimately hates. ?Wasted Youth? uses a chance encounter between these two characters to illustrate the effect of the economic, social and political crisis that Greece is experiencing on the psyche and lives of ordinary people.

In their production note, the filmmakers say: ?Some films are made with a sense of urgency. With such films, it is now or never. ?Wasted Youth? is most certainly one of these films. We started without a script or a finance plan. The money came from private investors. We filmed in a documentary style, outside on the streets, with a small crew. The Vasilis character is very close to everyday reality in Athens: exhausted, confused, unable to make any progress, brimming with desperation and aggression. The boy, Harry, is a typical teenager. His life revolves around skateboarding, music, girls, arguing with his parents and having fun with his friends.’

Papadimitropoulos and Vogel, as well as the producers and cast members Haris Markou, Ieronimos Kaletsanos, Arthouros Kiviliof, Jason Wastor and Themis Bazaka, will be present at the invitation-only opening ceremony at 8 p.m. at the Grand Hall of the De Doelen convention center.