The slow death of a true artist

Stelios Haralambopoulos?s ?I ypografi? (The Signature) is a romantic drama whose action is divided into the past and the present. The film, which opens in cinemas around Athens on February 3, stars Georges Corraface, Maria Protopappa, Alexia Kaltsiki and Nikos Kouris. While admirably consistent in terms of style (Elias Kostandakopoulos?s cinematography is a major contributor here), it is disappointingly erratic as far as the script is concerned.

The story develops around the mystery surrounding the authenticity of a piece of art. However the film lacks the necessary element of suspense which would immerse viewers in a breathtaking adventure.

Art historian Anna is preparing a tribute to Maria Dimou, an artist whose death remains a mystery. She contacts Maria?s 60-year-old longtime lover, Angelos, in order to find out more about their relationship.

Anna discovers that Angelos and Maria originally met in Paris, where they had fallen madly in love. He had been living in a small atelier-apartment in an neighborhood of artists, while she was working in the theater and at the same time trying to make it as an artist. Angelos, whose notion of love was that of endless, unconditional surrender to his partner, wound up sacrificing his career for Maria, whose talents did not match his own. When a young architect entered their lives, the couple?s relationship turned sour.

That was all in the past, however. Back in the present, Anna is on a dangerous path, and by digging deep into Angelos?s wounds she discovers that a signature on one of Maria?s paintings was added posthumously.

In ?The Signature? the actors appear defenseless because characters fail to develop. Action is replaced by dialogue, which in turn becomes the explanatory tool for audiences to find out what happened to the characters. Meanwhile, the quest for the film?s inner rhythm leads to the movie?s final and single truly exceptional scene.

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