Dieter Kosslick, director of the Berlin International Film Festival since 2001, has always tried to get a Greek film into one of the many sections of the festival, though it is rare for a Greek entry to make it into the international competition. Now, nine years after Theo Angelopoulos’s “Weeping Meadow,” Yannis Economides will be competing for the Golden Bear with his film “Mikro Psari” (Little Fish) at the leading European film event, which runs from February 6-16.
A Greek-Cypriot filmmaker who was born in Limassol in 1967 and went on to study film in Athens, Economides helped reshape the aesthetics and forms of Greek cinema.
His first full-length feature was the gritty and ultra-realistic “Matchbox” in 2003, in which he portrays, in a brutal and relentless light, the lumpen and petit-bourgeoisie aspects of society and the family through the story of a short-tempered middle-aged man who cracks under the pressure of a loveless marriage and pressure at work.
“I Psychi sto Stoma” (Soul Kicking), his second feature-length drama produced in 2006, participated in the Critics’ Week at Cannes. It also tells the tale of a man who succumbs to the pressures of modern life, while “Macherovgaltis” (Knifer) from 2010 is another hard-hitting drama about a love affair gone terribly wrong.
The theme is not much pleasanter in “Little Fish,” the story of a contract assassin who moonlights at a bakery in order to raise the cash to save the man that saved him.
The film stars Vangelis Mourikis as Stratos, the assassin who always pays his debts. It is a Greek-German-Cypriot co-production, with the collaboration of Faliro House Productions, Argonauts and Feelgood Entertainment, the latter of which is in charge of distribution in Greece and Cyprus. Germany participated with Match Factory Productions.
“Little Fish” will be competing in the 64th Berlinale against Yann Demange’s “71” (UK), “Aimer, boire et chanter” by Alain Resnais (France), “Aloft” by Claudia Llhosa (Spain, Canada, France), “Die geliebten Schwestern” by Dominik Graf (Germany), Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (US, opening film) and George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” (US).
Another event worth noting at next year’s Berlinale is the presentation of a Golden Bear to Ken Loach, one of the UK’s greatest living directors, for his contribution to the world of cinema.