CANNES – Greeks are once again present throughout this year’s Cannes Film Festival. One of the members of the prestigious nine-person Cannes Jury this year is Alexander Payne, the U.S. director of Greek descent responsible for films such as the award-winning “The Descendants.” Alexandre Desplat, a distinguished French-Greek composer who has scored “The King’s Speech” and “The Tree of Life,” scored five films featured in this year’s competition and in the Un Certain Regard category. His music is featured in the French film “Rust and Bone,” starring Marion Cotillard, Garrone’s “Reality,” Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” Gilles Bourdos’s “Renoir,” and Laurent Bouzereau’s documentary on Roman Polanski.
The Marche du Film (Film Market) features Greek productions and films focused on Greek stories. These films are being shown in the Cannes Film Market in order to find outlets for distribution, and thus reach a wider audience; many of them have already been shown and awarded at other festivals throughout the world.
The following is a list of the Greek-produced and Greek-themed films in this year’s Film Market:
Marche du Film
– Meteora by Spiros Stathoulopoulos. This film has already made a big impact on film festivals such as Germany’s renowned Berlinale, and has now come to the Marche du Film in search of distribution. Starring Theo Alexander and Tamila Koulieva-Karantinaki, the film focuses on a love story between a nun and a monk living in neighboring monasteries in the breathtaking and historic Greek area of Meteora. Director Stathoulopoulos has already amazed audiences with his previous film, “PVC-1,” which was entered into the 2007 Cannes Film Festival; his latest endeavor proves he is definitely an up-and-coming director to watch.
– Unfair World by Filippos Tsitos. “Unfair World” has already been recognized at several venues such as the San Sebastian Film Festival, where it was awarded the Silver Shell for best director and best actor (well-known Greek actor Antonis Kafetzopoulos). It focuses on the story of a somewhat offbeat police interrogator who murders a corrupt colleague, an act he sees as a gesture of forgiveness towards those wronged by his victim. A cleaning lady (Theodora Tzimou) happens to witness the murder, and the experience forms an unusual type of bond between the two characters. Tsitos has been a rising director for some time now, as his previous film, “Plato’s Academy,” was selected for international festivals ranging from LA to Venice.
– Papadopoulos & Sons by Marcus Markou. Although “Papadopoulos & Sons” is a Canadian production, it features Greeks both in the cast and behind the camera. The film centers on the story of a Greek self-made millionaire who is ruined financially by the economic crisis, and reluctantly decides to return to run his abandoned family business, a simple fish and chip shop, with his estranged brother. The story should strike a chord with Greek audiences, as Papadopoulos’ family must adjust to their radically reduced income and living standards, a situation many Greeks are trying to come to terms with due to the country’s current economic troubles. Markou seems to be conveying the message that happiness can be found in the simpler things in life, in the joys of home and family. Besides being directed by Markou, the son of Greek-Cypriot immigrants raised in the UK, the film stars George Corraface, a well-established French-Greek actor, as Spyros Papadopoulos, the estranged brother of the central character. Markou has had a fruitful career as a playwright, director, and actor in the UK, and this latest project of his is garnering widespread interest.
– Appartamento ad Atene (An Apartment in Athens) by Ruggero Dipaola. This Italian production was filmed in the Greek language, and features Greek actor Gerasimos Skiadaresis as one of the central characters. The dramatic film takes place in Athens in 1943, and follows the story of a Greek family whose apartment is requisitioned in order to accommodate a cruel and dictatorial German officer. His presence damages the family’s psyche even after he leaves. The film has already won critics over, and was awarded at this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival for best feature, best actor (Gerasimos Skiadaresis), best cinematographer (Vladan Radovic), and best screenplay (Ruggero Dipaola, Heldrunk Schleef).
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