Greece heads to Oscars with drama inspired by migrant crisis


Greece is back in the race for the Best Foreign Language Film award at the Oscars with a drama thriller about an Athenian far-right nationalist horrified at seeing his neighborhood becoming populated by migrants.

“Amerika Square,” titled after the downtown Athens neighborhood around Amerikis Square, is Yiannis Sakaridis’s second feature and is based on a novel by Yiannis Tsibras, with cinematography by Jan Vogel.

The story centers around three characters: Nakos, an unemployed man who still lives with parents and blames all of his and the country’s woes on migrants; Billy, a bar owner and tattoo artist who becomes involved with an African singer running from trouble with mobsters; and Tarek, a Syrian refugee looking for a way to get himself and his daughter out of Greece and into Germany.

“Amerika Square” has already earned the Fipresci critics’ award and youth prize at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, as well as critical acclaim from screenings at several other festivals and in Greek theaters. 

It is the first Greek film to be nominated in the foreign language film category of the Oscars since Yorgos Lanthimos’s “Dogtooth” in 2010. Lanthimos’s “Lobster” was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay last year.