CULTURE

Falling short of comment, Nikos Perakis observes

What is certain is that filmmaker Nikos Perakis could have had a brilliant career as a journalist. He casts a sharp, incisive and analytical eye over Greek reality and in his latest movie, titled «Psychremia Pedia» («Cool») he looks at the notorious village of Zoniana in Crete (before it hit the headlines) and tries to unravel the thread of intermingled interests at play on an institutional level, while focusing on a generation of 20-somethings from a particular social background. In short, the movie could have been a humorous, entertaining and well-filmed commentary. But, what has happened here to make Perakis fail on all three counts? The humor is reduced to lengthy, mindless dialogues and one-liners without an edge, the entertainment is limited to «panoramic» shots of shapely beach volleyball players and as far as the style is concerned, it looks as though this master of the art of cinema was simply trying to dispense with the process of filming. The main characters: Stavrokomanios, an irritable Cretan dressed in the customary black shirt whose father is the village «herbalist;» Tzortzis Mandakas, a handsome young man and son of a big-time crook who has fingers in all sorts of different pies; and Loula, the daughter of a local MP, an anti-establishment type and rock singer. They are surrounded by lawyers, bodyguards and cab drivers, characters who never really come to fruition and who seem to float around with little rhyme or reason. Greek society may be somewhat limited in its outlook in some respects, but it will take more than the rock beat of a young «revolutionary» to awaken its dormant collective conscience. It takes daring, sensitivity and a solid point of view from the director. It takes a bold, multi-layered commentary, not simply lackadaisical observation.