You think Greece, you think ancient gods, olives, sun-loungers, cheese you’d kill for, and, um, the Eurozone crisis and the socialist revolution! Yeah! But they’ve also got a truly kick-ass film industry that hasn’t let any financial meltdowns get in the way of some hardcore creativity. Here’s a handful of our top best Greek movies from recent years. Now, who’s on popcorn duty?
We’re easing you in with the most recognizable of the bunch, Yorgos Lanthimos’s super-creepy psychodrama about a couple who’ve kept their now-adolescent kids within the bounds of the family home their whole lives. When the dad hires in a colleague to perform sexual favours for his teenage son, the children start to rebel against their captivity, and, well, though the film is visually stunning, the results for the family ain’t pretty… Dogtooth swept the boards at a bunch of European film festivals and was nominated for an Oscar. Steel yourself before you press play.
Little England (2014)
You might have to wait a little for the DVD release, but Pantelis Voulgaris’s latest offering, a period drama set on the Cycladic island of Andros between the nineteen-thirties and fifties, is worth the delay: a lush melodrama about a pair of sisters, Orsa and Moscha, caught up in a love triangle with sea-captain Spiros, it’s the epitome of filmic indulgence, and with plenty of gorgeous seascapes as the backdrop to the family tragedy, who can resist?
Boy Eating The Bird’s Food (2012)
Scripted and directed by first-timer Ektoras Lygizos, this film is based, sort of, on Knut Hamsun’s novel, Hunger – and if that’s ever crossed your radar, you’ll know that Boy is not exactly a rom-com. Mental and physical breakdown, societal critique? Check! It’s about a starving young singer who’s reduced to eating his pet canary’s bird-seed, and it’s a scathing look at youth unemployment and hopelessness. Hard to watch but utterly mesmerizing, and with some very funky handheld camera moves and a brilliant lead actor, you’ve got to check it out.
Unfair World (2011)
Hey, a comedy! We’re not all about misery here, you know. Filippos Tsitos’s social satire is about a disillusioned Athens cop who snaps and starts letting suspect after suspect walk free; it’s a super-low budget flick, but it scooped up several festival prizes a couple of years ago, and despite the slow-pace we thought it was properly endearing.
Miss Violence (2013)
Okay, we’re back to doom with this one: Alexandros Avranas claimed the Best Director prize at the Venice Film Festival with this film about a young girl’s hushed-up suicide. Miss Violence is the story of eleven-year-old Angeliki’s death, which the authorities are investigating despite her family’s insistence that it was an accident. Very, very dark and with Leonard Cohen on the soundtrack, you won’t laugh, but you certainly won’t forget it, either.
Have you seen these movies? Love them, hate them? Got any other suggestions? Let us know down below!