Young director aims for novelty

Most people who go to the movies to watch a Greek film do so for the director rather than for the film itself. It is the director who makes up the public mind, rather than the genre of the film or the plot outline. In Greek cinema, especially when concerning the subject of a film, there are usually few surprises. The public does not expect to see an action adventure, a science-fiction flick, or a thriller. One could actually say that about 99 percent of Greek movies are social dramas, about individuals and their experiences. This, however, is hardly surprising when one considers the restricted size of the local film market. Now, though, 29-year-old Giorgos Nousias has produced a bona-fide splatter flick for his first feature-length film. «Evil,» the story of five Athenians trying to escape the wrath of the zombies roaming the city, spreading panic and death, is currently playing at mainstream theaters and, judging by the cinephile forums on the Internet, it has achieved something more important in cinema than critical acclaim: hype. The attraction this type of film exercises on a young audience is, needless to say, partly responsible for all the noise, but the hype proves that the broad public has become somewhat tired of the constant repetition of thematic motifs that run through most Greek films and are quick to shower praise on anyone who dares to do the unusual, forgiving minor mishaps in narrative or style. Chance to experiment Paradoxically, Nousias is no fan of splatter films himself, but, he says, «splatter films are a way of making movies on a small budget. And to experiment. A large budget, I think, is a trap that may lead you to go over the top.» The director is quick to add that this does not mean that making «Evil» was a walk in the park. «Splatter is a difficult genre, both in terms of the director’s work and on a technical level. On the latter level, I had the help of some of the country’s greatest masters, such as the Alachouzos brothers for special effects and prosthetics.» Another reason Nousias and his team decided to go for it was that «we watch science-fiction films or thrillers, but here [in Greece] it is like these genres don’t even exist in terms of production. We were intrigued by this absence and decided to give it a go.» «Evil» is a low-budget production, what one could call handmade, but it is not without ambition. «We wanted to construct nail-biting scenes, make the carnage look professional and I think that we have achieved around 80 percent of our goals,» said Nousias. And what will come after «Evil»? «I think we’ll stick to thrillers for the time being,» says the director. «Anyway, ‘Evil’ really isn’t that scary at all.»