“Xenia” is Greece’s Official Oscar Submission. Panos H. Koutras’s road movie, about two recently orphaned Patty Pravo obsessed brothers, premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and was seen in LA at the 2015 Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF)
Flamboyantly gay 15-year-old Dany (Kostas Nikouli), a part time hustler with a pet white rabbit, leaves Crete after his Albanian mother, once a successful pop singer,dies. He goes to Athens to find his older brother, hunky Odysseus or Ody (Nikos Gelia), tell him about her death, and coach him for a nationally televised Singing contest.
Charismatic Dany is a chatty, acting out dervish who’s energy drives the film. Quieter Ody, a talented singer balances him with his protective quietly macho presence.
The boys needs papers, as their alcoholic mother failed to register them properly. Dany tries to track down their Greek father, who abandoned them years ago, and shake him down for money and official Greek citizenship
On the run from the police after a bloody brawl, they reconnect with their mother’s gay club partner the fatherly Miss T or Tassos Peris (Aggelos Papadimitriou) Romanna Lobats plays his protegee and talent contestant Maria-Sonia, Ody’s nee love interest,
Thing heat up when they discover that their run away dad is now a local big wig and Right Wing political candidate running on an Anti-Immigrant platform.
Kostas Nikouli, who’s marked for stardom, was first seen in Spiros Charalambous’sshort ‘Forever Young”, which also played at Cannes and LAGFF. He played a macho young man about to have his frist sexual experience, and was a non actor when he was cast.
DOP Helene Louvart’s lovely palette, and expressive work by production designer Delaney Blue and costume designer Pinelopi Valti are top notch
Magical realist touches mix with the family drama, set against the xenophobic atmosphere of economically challenged present day Greece. Koutras’ brash lively film wit a humanist heart, is a welcome wake up call about Greece’s entrenched patriarchal values and current racist and homophobic right wing backlash to its dire economic situation. SEE
Seen at Friends Of Film, October 4, Dick Clark Screening Room
FOREVER YOUNG (DEN THA GERASOUME POTE)
Greece, 2014, 21 min, LA Premiere
Writer: Dimitris Papanastasiou
Producers: Alexantra Mpousiou, Spiros Charalambous
Cast: Vana Pefany, Costas Nikoyli, Giorgos Tsialos, Nansy Mpoukli, Chistina Hela Fameli, Maria Kaliba
On the last night of August, Nikos will make love for the first time. When September dawns, Maria will start her new life.
* 2014 20th International Film Festival of Athens
* 2015 Cannes Short Film Corner