While the UK is on the verge of teetering out of the EU, the Edinburgh Filmhouse is doing its best to forge strong cinematic links with the continent. Next month, it hosts the third European film festival in as many weeks, with the Greeks coming to town on Friday 1 December. The programme is short but sweet – only six films over as many days – but still manages to encompass millennia of Greek history, from the tragedy of Medea to the current migration crisis gripping much of Europe. The full programme is available online, but here’s a sneak peek at The Wee Review’s preferred picks.
Yannis Sakardis / Greece, UK, Germany / 2016 / 86 mins
Tattoo artist Billy and his unemployed best bud Nakos share many things in common – but their attitude to foreigners isn’t one of them. While Nakos sees the influx of immigrants as everything that’s wrong with his country and his life, Billy embraces the change wholeheartedly and does all he can to help those less fortunate than himself. The pair clash in Amerika Square over the fate of Syrian refugee Tarek. Director Sakardis is on hand to answer questions after the screening.
Nikos Grammatikos / Greece / 2014 / 93 mins
Euripides’ tragedy Medea remains one of the most widely and frequently performed Greek tragedies in world theatre, so it’s little surprise it’s a fitting topic for a documentary. Here, Grammatikos interviews actors, directors, scholars and – most importantly of all – people on the street, as he tries to find a modern-day equivalent to Medea’s wayward husband Jason and unravel her mystery in a modern context. The screening is followed by a Q & A with the director himself.
Stavroula Toska / Greece, USA / 2015 / 76 mins
In the aftermath of WWII, the vacuum left by Nazi occupation in Greece led to a power struggle between the government’s army (backed by the UK and US) and the leftist Democratic Army of Greece (backed by Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia). This illuminating documentary takes us into the journals, lives and minds of women who suffered imprisonment and punishment for their beliefs and examines the psyche of what it takes to resist oppression in all its forms. The screening is followed by a Q & A with director Toska and narrator Olympia Dukakis.
Vasilis Mazomenos / Greece / 2016 / 88 mins
This modern-day tragedy examines the broken lives of seven disparate individuals. The only connection between them is the helpline they all call to seek solace in their time of need, and despite the fact that the struggles facing each one individually and the country collectively are more than any human can placate, it’s a story about finding hope in among the heartache.