DIRECTED BY: Athina Rachel Tsangari
STARRING: Panos Koronis, Efthymis Papadimitriou, Giorgos Pyrpassopoulos, Sakis Rouvas
RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
There is a wry old British comedy called School For Scoundrels, based on Stephen Potter’s writing and starring Terry-Thomas and Ian Carmichael, about “one-upmanship”. The two male leads desperately try to out-do each other. The six characters in this invigorating Greek-made art house comedy-drama are engaged in a similar battle. They’re affluent, middle-class types, aboard an expensive yacht on what should be an enjoyable holiday. The mood, though, turns very tense indeed when they start a competition to decide who is the “best in general”.
Tsangari’s storytelling style is very dry and deadpan – and that only adds to the absurdist humour. The six men are capable of being very nasty indeed to each other. “Your syntax is shit and your penis is very small,” is a typical insult.
They measure everything about each other, from posture to shoes to what they look like sleeping, how long they can hold their breath and whether or not they can sustain an erection. At one stage, they race to put up some shelves. The competition is inherently pointless (as one man hisses at a rival: “Even if you win, it doesn’t mean you’re the best in general.”)
The film is satirising aspiration, snobbery and the way that competition seeps into utterly trivial areas of its characters’ lives. What makes it unsettling is the sense that, maybe, the film isn’t so far-fetched after all. Tsangari is laying bare the conceit and machismo of her male protagonists. They can’t even have a conversation or enjoy a meal together without it turning into a ferociously competitive experience.
FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2017
Doors: 7.30pm Film 8pm
Rotten Tomatoes - 83%
The Guardian - ★★★★
The Telegraph - ★★★★
The Independent - ★★★★
The Times - ★★★★