Public tragedy has a long history of inspiring and driving artists to create masterpieces. A cinematic upheaval, the Greek Weird Wave cinema, was therefore hardly surprising in the wake of the country’s financial crisis, which began in late 2009.
The wave’s odd narrative and character choices, which mirror the unstable and turbulent atmosphere of the country and its society, earned it the moniker “Weird.” Most of these films were shot on a shoestring budget, despite their gaining profile among worldwide audiences.
Despite this, this aspect offered a unique twist to the movement and ultimately became a defining feature of the trend. Yorgos Lanthimos and Panos Koutras are two of the most famous filmmakers to draw inspiration from the crisis in their homeland. This article will focus on their latest works and discuss how they contributed to what is known as Greek Weird Wave.
The Lobster (2015)
The Lobster is the first feature-length film directed by Lanthimos to be shot in English.
This story takes place in a futuristic dystopian world. In addition to being totalitarian like other dystopian future societies, this society’s defining feature is its intolerance of people who do not have a life partner. All group members must be in a committed relationship with another person. Those who, for whatever reason, have lost their partners are transferred to a facility called The Hotel, where they can meet potential new partners. Those still single after 45 days undergoes a mysterious transformation into an animal.
Despite its flat, minimalist aesthetic, The Lobster does a remarkable job of capturing the viewer’s attention. The majority of the dialogue is delivered in a very artificial manner. This is an offbeat picture that, on paper, should fail. However, the directors’ fearless and self-assured originality allows it to create an impressive impression.
The Favourite (2018)
Yorgos Lanthimos co-produced and directed the black comedy The Favourite, which Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara wrote. Storyline-wise, the film is about two cousins (Rachel Weisz and Abigail Masham) who compete for Queen Anne’s favour in the early 18th century (Olivia Colman). Principal photography for the British, Irish, and American production took place at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire and Hampton Court Palace.
The Favourite was well-received by critics, who praised Lanthimos’ direction and performance of lead actresses. It went on to win or be nominated for several prizes, including a record-tying ten Oscar nominations, tied with Roma for the most of any film that year.
In Dogtooth, we see a distressing example of crazy parenting in which the parents use their power and control over their children’s lives to keep them from interacting with the outside world. A Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination was submitted for this movie.
A manipulative and dominating father (Christos Stergioglou) imprisons his three grown children in the expansive family compound, thus keeping them in a continuous state of childhood. The kids are so bored that they cry, even when their father’s employee Christina (Anna Kalaitzidou), comes over to sexually service the boy (Hristos Passalis). The older daughter (Aggeliki Papoulia) is obsessed with seeing the world and eventually plots her own departure.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
Dr. Steven Murphy is an accomplished heart surgeon and a doting husband and father of two. His home is always immaculate. Martin, a fatherless young adult, lurks on the outside of the doctor’s pleasant suburban life, making his presence felt in increasingly alarming ways. The entire scale of Martin’s goal becomes ominously apparent as he confronts Steven with a forgotten crime that would destroy his domestic bliss for good.
Like in The Lobster, Lanthimos employs a densely symbolic tone here, employing an implausible scenario to shed light on universal human anxieties. The ultimate product is a riveting thriller that leaves us hanging with few happy-ending possibilities and unanswered questions. All the actors do a fantastic job, and director Yorgos Lanthimos has an incredible eye for composition and detail, making this one of the Greek Weird Wave’s most memorable movies.
A Woman’s Way (2009)
Panos Koutras directed the film A Woman’s Way, also known as Strella. An older ex-convict and a younger transgender prostitute fall in love in this 2009 drama. The film deftly threads its way through the tangled web of criminality, sex, gender, and love to force the viewer into active participation.
Miss Violence (2013)
Miss Violence is directed by Alexandros Avranas. It’s widely considered a landmark of the Greek Weird Wave film movement. The disturbing part of a dysfunctional family is revealed in Miss Violence. Angeliki, eleven years old on the day she took her own life, jumped off a balcony on her birthday. Angeliki’s family maintains that the suicide was accidental as police and Social Services investigate. Just what did young Angeliki hide away? And yet, why does her family keep trying to “forget” her and move on with its life?
Miss Violence won multiple awards and recognition on a global scale. One of these was the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival.
This film is inspired by real-life events. The lines between fact and fiction are disturbingly hazy in Interruption. A crowd has gathered in an Athens theatre to watch a reimagining of a Greek tragedy in the postmodern era when masked gunmen storm the stage and take control of the production, leaving the audience to wonder if everything they’re seeing is real.
The Greek Weird Wave remains one of the international film’s most exciting, varied, and subversive movements. Lanthimos’s direction of The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Favourite exemplifies all the hallmarks of modern filmmaking. It’s tough to say if and when the Greek Weird Wave will slow down, but its influence will undoubtedly last.
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