The film writer in Melbourne street press Inpress claimed recently that there’s never anything of interest on at the Greek film festival, with the exception this year of Dogtooth, which I saw at MIFF. I think they’re completely wrong. I’ve been seeing films at the Greek film festival for several years, and there’s usually one or two a year that I really enjoy. The Greek film festival may not have the status of the French film festival, but it is worth attending. Hardcore in 2005 was particularly memorable and I also enjoyed A Dog’s Dream in 2006.
The best film at the Greek film festival this year for me was Tale 52, a claustrophobic story about a man who seems to be slipping backwards and forwards in a timeline between when he meets his girlfriend and when she disappears or he murders her. Imagine combining Groundhog Day, Bad Boy Bubby and Memento as written and directed by David Lynch. A more detailed review is here. It’s easy to assume the lead character is psychotic, but it may not be as simple as that.
Image copyright: farbfilm / used under the fair dealings provisions of the Copyright Act 1968
A trailer with subtitles is below.
I think what the Greek film festival lacks is not good films but a reputation. The Greek film industry and culture does not have the reputation of the French, Italian and Spanish film cultures, and is not a known brand or genre an ethnically mixed Australian audience can easily relate to or be attracted to. An aging Greek community audience will not sustain the festival forever. It needs to find a new audience.
Tale 52 had about 30 people in the audience, most of whom evidently hated it. I’m often the token skippie in the audience, but on this occasion Peter Krausz, who is involved with the Festival of German films, was also in the cinema. The Festival of German films previously also struggled to draw an audience, particularly when it was located at ACMI, though it has improved each year I have been to it. The sessions I attended at the Kino this year were mostly full. The Greek film festival may be able to learn something from the Festival of German films in marketing itself and increasing its audience.