Two-sweet director’s films all in pink – with a dash of vanilla

Maria Iliou’s film Alexandria, which premiered last Friday is reminiscent of afternoon tea with sweets and poetry. The director, who also made Three Seasons, says her new work is a film about love, the need for love and how difficult it is. The characters are two Greek women, a mother and daughter, who live abroad and visit the mother’s native town of Alexandria, as well as a French writer who comes into the story from the past in the form of flashbacks. From the very first scene, on the deck of the ship on the way to Alexandria, the director’s intentions are obviously clear: Everything will go smoothly, peacefully, with decent, dignified emotional moments and lives that seem to be out of the pages of a children’s fairy tale. Iliou’s heroes never bleed, or tremble; they fall into heaps of cotton wool. Their disappointments, denials and rejections occur on clouds, preferably pink ones. But that isn’t enough, it requires people of flesh and blood, feelings and real situations to make a film work, at least on an elementary level. And it also takes actors. In Alexandria, the actors seem like inexperienced adolescents in a school play. Watching Iliou’s films one has the impression that they were made by a director who has two sweets in the place of eyes, so that her view of the world is unusually syrupy. This is a fresh approach, one which is natural and flows. There are no separate groups; whether a dancer, an actor or a singer, everyone dances on stage, she said.

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