Edinburgh Greek Film Festival 2014
Films showing include The Enemy Within, Miss Violence and All Cats Are Brilliant?
Greece has had it tough lately. Thanks in part to systemic political corruption and over-reliance on foreign investment, the global financial crisis set the economy reeling. A combination of public discontent and police brutality led to urban violence and the rise of a far-right extremist party. It didn’t help that international commentators tended to repeat the sneer that Greeks are lazy, even though they work longer hours than any other population in Europe.
Greek cinema, to be fair, hasn't always been inspiring. For years, it tended to produce ponderous historical dramas, dodgy sex comedies or second-rate arthouse experimentalism. Even a world-class director like the late Theo Angelopoulos was more respected for his stately style than for economical storytelling. But the Greeks didn’t invent the word ‘crisis’ for nothing. According to Kevin Anderson and Katy Logotheti-Anderson, organisers of Edinburgh’s Greek Film Festival, Greek filmmakers are increasingly interested in facing ugly facts about their national life.
'Greece has had to think about itself differently,' says Kevin Anderson. The ongoing social problems, evidenced by the Greek government’s long-hoped-for slapdown of the increasingly criminalised far-right, are showing up in the country’s cinema. Films such as Yorgos Tsemberopoulos' The Enemy Within and Alexandros Avranas’ Miss Violence are, in their different ways, brutal critiques of patriarchal conservatism, while Constantina Voulgaris’ All Cats Are Brilliant? is a funny and moving family drama, set in a society in turmoil. Katy Logotheti-Anderson is in no doubt about the global relevance of the new Greek cinema: ‘These films are not just about Greece. They are international. The very fact that they are being made brings light to the end of the tunnel.’
Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 28 Nov--Thu 4 Dec.