Evangelakou aims at the core

With her new film, «False Alarm» (or, «Ores koinis isychias» in Greek), Katerina Evangelakou presents her most mature film to date (following «The Jaguar» and «Think It Over»). The drama sounds the alarm, both literally and allegorically. It is set in a typical Athenian apartment block on a hot summer’s night, and presents six different stories and 19 characters of every race and profession: a macho cab driver trying to win back his wife, two student sisters looking for boyfriends, a married doctor using his work as an excuse to visit his mistress, a homosexual couple, and two petty thieves trying to break into an elderly woman’s home with unpredictable results. Each story – concise, to the point and written with economy of scale and a good tempo (the screenplay is written jointly by Evangelakou and Nikos Panayiotopoulos) – is aimed at the core of the characters and avoids becoming long-winded or overly emotive. The director has focused on their faces, but observing them from a distance she does not stand in the way of their emotions, the tension that arises between them or their fits of violence. She seems to understand and put across their weaknesses, interpreting their slip-ups. All the characters have unsettled accounts with the past, open scars (like one particular mother-son relationship depicted), and a tight bond with the «television» reality that surrounds them. Evangelakou defines the limits and records the moment when they are crossed, step-by-step describing a mounting situation of violence. A car alarm rings incessantly, provoking violence, momentary insanity, a breakdown of social form. This is a world where the only reaction from the people is to applaud when the taxi driver smashes the car. It is like a reality show that keeps evolving. In the wonderful finale of the film the emotions spill over, but the characters do not dominate. The alarm is not silenced, not even as the credits roll. «False Alarm» stars Alexia Kaltsiki, Christos Stergioglou, Errikos Litsis and Taxiarchis Hanos.