Cinema has existed in Greece since the beginning of the twentieth century and this has contributed to the rapid and innovative development of Greek cinema in different periods such as the Golden Age and Postmodern. Greek New Wave Cinema, also known as Greek New Wave or Greek Strange Wave, refers to the emergence of films with devastating critical storytelling over the past two decades that address political and cultural issues in shocking ways. Greek New Wave films, which were made on very limited budgets due to the country’s financial situation and we are still seeing new examples, have managed to capture the attention of audiences around the world. Let us consider in more detail the characteristics of the current on the film samples.
Features of Greek New Wave Cinema
If we need to explain the characteristic features of this movement in a nutshell, one of them is neutrality and the other is surrealism. Greek New Wave movies often have an abstract aesthetic. The characters are almost completely emotionally estranged and behave in unusual ways. The scenarios are often either illogical or impossible, but presented in a down to earth manner.
In conclusion, it should be said that the dominance of a chaotic and confusing atmosphere in the Greek New Wave cinema should not be seen as a phenomenon independent of the last 20 years, when Greece was rocked by economic and political crises. On the contrary, it arose as a reactive reflection of lost and changing values in the field of culture and art and has a content that hides political criticism in its subtexts.
Yorgos Lanthimos, one of the leading figures in Greek New Wave cinema, stated the following in an interview:
It was not uncommon for a boy who grew up in Greece to say, “I’m going to be a filmmaker.” At least there weren’t many filmmakers and industries back then. I was into film, but for a reason that sounded more plausible at the time… Studying film and television for quality advertising, which is a real job to earn a living.
So I went to film school and got my technical experience there. But, of course, I got more and more interested in cinema and the idea of being a director while still in school. Even though I started making a lot of commercials at a very early age, I always thought about making a film. So at some point we started making our own films; At first we didn’t have anything, and we used our friends’ houses, cars and even clothes for filming movies.
You can also view this article: Successful Greek New Wave director Yorgos Lanthimos and his latest film, The Favorite.
1. Kinetta (2005) – IMDB: 4.7
This experimental psychological drama film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos is among his lesser-known productions.
Three foreigners meet outside the holiday season at the Greek seaside resort of Kinetta… The first; A police officer obsessed with luxury German cars and Russian women. Last; eccentric photographer. The third and last is a hotel maid who looks like an ordinary person. They’ve come together for something rather strange. The reason for their meeting is to recreate several murders. Meticulously and almost ritualistically, animating scenes of brutal murders and crimes, this trio begins to enter into internal conflicts as the boundaries of their personal lives gradually begin to blur. Will they be able to save their lives from this chaos?
2. Intertwined (2019) – IMDB: 5.5
The 2019 horror drama film directed by Minos Nikolakakis is about the conflict between the paranormal and scientific facts.
Panos, a young doctor who has suffered a mental breakdown after his father’s death and struggles with his grief; Despite all the objections of his half-brother, he takes on the duties of a public doctor in the desert and mountain village of Aliti. While meeting superstitious and mute locals, Panos accidentally meets Danaë, a mysterious man with a strange skin disease. This situation, which piques Panos’s curiosity, prompts him to do some deep research. But this passion for research turns into an irresistible passion, and then into a strange passion. And soon after, Panos finds himself trapped in the heart of an untouched forest. Does science have an answer to all the strange events it has gone through?
3. Chevalier – Knight (2015) – IMDB: 6.2
The Chevalier is a 2015 comedy film directed by Atina Rachel Tsangari. Screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section of the Toronto International Film Festival, the film received an Oscar nomination from Greece for Best Foreign Language Film.
“It is said in nature that only the fittest survive.” Against the backdrop of the azure Aegean, a seemingly innocent fishing trip between six friends becomes the perfect setting for an uncompromising contest for male dominance. Within a sinking luxury boat full of polite but mean people, the desire to prove yourself will ignite fierce competition. Undoubtedly, as in the traditional narrative; Men should always be the best hunters, the most ferocious fighters and, above all, the most extraordinary lovers. Who will claim the precious knighthood at the end of the showdown, and what will happen to the losers?
4. Attenberg (2010) – IMDB: 6.2.
Attenberg is a 2010 drama film written and directed by Atina Rachel Tsangari. The film was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice International Film Festival and was nominated for an Oscar.
23-year-old Marina, who grew up with her architect father in an ordinary factory town by the sea, finds the human race distant from herself and stays away from almost all people. Instead, she listens to depressing songs, carefully watches documentaries, and takes sex education lessons from her only friend, Bella. But that vicious cycle begins to change when a stranger arrives in town and challenges him to a pinball duel at his own table. Meanwhile, his father is on his deathbed and he no longer enjoys living. Marina, who has to choose between people in her life, will discover the secrets of being human and will suffer from the conflict of logic and emotions.
5. Boy Eating Bird Food / To Agori Troei to Fagito tou Pouliou – Boy Eating Bird Food (2012) – IMDB: 6.3
Drama film “Boy Eating Bird Food” written and directed by Ektoras Ligizos; Inspired by Knut Hamsun’s 1890 novel The Hunger. At the 86th Academy Awards, the film was selected as the Greek for Best Foreign Language Film; Has an allegorical expression.
In this film; We will witness three days of the life of an Athenian boy who has no job, no loved one, not even food. All that the Athenian boy has left is his canary, and he is ready to share literally everything he has with him. When he is left to himself, he needs a voice that can tell him about the sad situation in which he finds himself.
6 Alps – Alps (2011) – IMDB: 6.4
This 2011 psychological drama film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos won the Jury Prize at the Sydney Film Festival.
A group of people who set out to ease the pain of those who have lost their loved ones and mourners decide to start a company called The Alps. Of course, for a small fee; they begin to support the grieving people with their forward-thinking and well-trained staff. In an attempt to fill the void of the deceased, in order to make and speed up the process of mourning as less destructive as possible, these staff adhere to certain rules and protocol. However, what happens if an employee breaks protocol and becomes too attached to his grieving client?
7. Tan – Crazy Beach (2016) – IMDB: 6.6
Sunburn is a 2016 drama film directed by Argyris Papadimitropoulos. The premiere took place at the Rotterdam International Film Festival.
Kostis is a 40-year-old doctor who is sent to the small island of Antiparos to take over the duties of the local clinic. At first everything seems normal, but when he meets an international group of young and beautiful tourists, his whole life and routine is turned upside down. Kostis, who fell in love with 19-year-old Anna like a goddess, experiences a spiritual collapse from this love. Can he overcome his obsession with Anna?
8. Pity – Poor Man (2018) – IMDB: 6.7.
Pity is a 2018 drama film directed by Babis Makridis. The film was screened at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
This movie; follows the story of a man who feels happy only when he is unhappy, addicted to sadness, who needs pity and is ready to do everything to arouse this feeling in others. Living in a world that is not cruel enough for him, a person enjoys pain and despair and is ready to do anything to satisfy his thirst for attention.
9. Apples / Μήλα – Apples (2020) – IMDB: 6.8.
Directed and produced by Christos Nicu in his directorial debut, The Apples 2020 drama premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for an Oscar by Greece.
When events of sudden and potentially irreparable amnesia swept the world; Aris, a gray-haired and lonely person, realizes that this unprecedented epidemic has damaged her memory. As a result, Aris, who suddenly forgot all about her past, joins the rescue program, an ambitious project designed to make a smooth transition into a new reality. However, while Aris is trying to complete her vital daily tasks; He accidentally meets Anna, a soul close to him, suffering from the same cruel disease. Aris, who is slowly starting to remember things about her past and her personality, will find it expensive to start over.
10. Miss Violence – The Beauty of Violence (2013) – IMDB: 7.1
Miss Violence, a 2013 psychological thriller directed by Alexandros Avranas, won the best screenplay award at the Stockholm International Film Festival.
It is Aggelika’s eleventh birthday and a well organized birthday party is being held for her. Everything is ready for a casual birthday party. However, he learns something new about Angelica’s family and the atmosphere is suddenly filled with a destructive atmosphere of despair. As sins committed behind closed doors and chilling mysteries are revealed one by one, they embark on a long journey into the depths of the human soul.
11. Digger (2020) – IMDB: 7.4
The 2020 drama film The Digger, directed by Georgis Grigorakis, premiered at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival in the Panorama section and won the Art Cinema Award at the festival.
A local farmer who lives and works alone in a farmhouse in the heart of a mountain forest in northern Greece; For years he fought the industrial beast that was digging up the forest, destroying its lush vegetation and threatening its habitat. But the biggest threat comes when, after twenty years of separation, her youngest son suddenly appears. Father and son have become enemies under the same roof; they are in a great conflict, of which nature alone is a witness. This showdown will open up an unexpected path of salvation for both of them.
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