The UHF of the film world.
Latest news

Marina Antunes [Celluloid 10.15.13] Greece drama

Few countries deliver as many consistently twisted tales as Greece. I assume there is populous entertainment in the country as well but in film festival circles, if it's not weird, it doesn't make the cut. The Greek new wave has been making waves over the last few years and Alexandros Avranas is the most recent director to deliver what is easily most cruel and twisted movie I've seen this year.

Miss Violence opens with a party. The birthday girl, 11 year old Angeliki, calmly walks over to the balcony, steps over the railing and very purposefully jumps over. Her death comes as a shock to the family and to authorities who feel the need to investigate Angeliki's home life after all, a perfectly healthy, seemingly happy pre-teen doesn't simply commit suicide for no apparent reason and the social workers are determined to turn over every rock until they find an answer. What they don't realize is that the answers they're looking for are far more twisted and traumatizing than anyone could have anticipated.

On the surface, Avranas' movie is an exploration of how a tight knit family deals with the death of one of their own. It's a little bizarre but every family has their own mechanism for dealing with trauma and this family seems intent on moving on and considering that everyone - mother, daughters, grandfather and grandmother - lives together with only the family patriarch working to support the growing family, it makes sense that they try to get back into some sort of normalcy. As Miss Violence develops and we see more of the family's inner workings, it becomes clear that the father figure rules with an iron fist and that the family business is darker and more troubling than we could ever have imagined.

Avranas' family inhabits the realm of reality but the existence Father has carved out for his family is far from normal. There's a real sense that he rules and that going against him yields terrible consequences and everyone, from his wife and daughter to his grandchildren, know not to cross him. What's not immediately clear but rather hinted at and slowly revealed, is how he goes about it.

Miss Violence is particularly disturbing because it plays out like a quiet drama with sudden flashes of violence. There's a feeling of trouble in every scene and with the movie's title, there's an expectation for things to go bad, but Avranas discloses information in such a matter of fact way that occasionally it's not really clear anything is amiss until it's too late. There are a few exceptions to that but in those instances, Avranas captures the scene from afar, almost observational which makes them that much more damning; it feels as though Avranas is including the audience in the unfolding violence; chastising us for not acting to stop it.

Miss Violence features some amazing performances, particularly from Themis Panou as the father, and Avranas direction is outstanding (I love the odd dance numbers, the steady movement of the camera and the way in which the director mixes family drama with troubling secrets) and I love the psychological questions that come into play but Miss Violence is not easily recommended. It's by far the most difficult movie I've seen this year and one that left me feeling particularly dirty, like I'd partaken in the unfolding ugliness. It's not a movie for everyone for if you enjoy a good challenge, this is definitely the movie for you.

You might also like


spektre (7 years ago) Reply

just saw this film, a masterpiece of film making, from the photography, screen writing, directing and acting, it's atmosphere is permeated with darkness and a sheer sense of dread, so much darkness that the end, justify it's means? we never know...

Leave a comment