Pomposity and tomfoolery mark Greece’s recent big-screen efforts

If one was to draw conclusions about the local film industry based on the two Greek films currently showing at cinemas, one could see it wavering between arrogance and tomfoolery. Arrogant is a rather austere description of Kyriakos Katzourakis’s «Sweet Memory,» while tomfoolery is precisely what determines Makis Papadimitratos’s «Tsiou.» Artist Kyriakos Katzourakis remains faithful to the tradition of the socially sensitive New Realists and post-Tsarouchis artists; his works are like narratives, very sensitive and probing. His first attempt at filmmaking in the «Way to the West» was very interesting. His second undertaking, «Sweet Memory,» is similar to the first in that both focus on female immigrants living in a foreign land (both lead characters are Russian women), but the plot and the framework are different. In «Sweet Memory,» Irina returns to Greece after a 25-year absence in search of her half-brother. Her brother is a drug addict and their father has died, leaving diaries and a text by Genet as his sole legacy. Many different people and issues pop up in the film, creating dozens of heterogeneous little pieces. A young boy, also a Russian immigrant, dropouts from society and impoverished intellectuals parade through the film. The film consists of poetic texts focusing on love and death. The world is rendered from an artistic point of view and reality is turned into aesthetics with the made-up realism erasing all traces of the truth. The dark cinematography accentuates heavy posturing instead of recording the pain in the world and the poignancy of memory, as the director would probably like it to. Katia Gerou fights against ghosts in the part of Irina, without any support from the script. ‘Tsiou’ Filmmaker Makis Papadimitratos follows the adventures of a group of friends desperately looking for their fix in a deserted mid-August Athens. The characters, the director and the camera idly move around, seeking – not desperately at all – a reason for existence in scenes that could best be described as tomfoolery.