GREECE, PALE MOTHER, Invisible
by Elie Castiel,
Sequences, Revue du Cinema
Sequences, Revue du Cinema
Cineast of the early 90's, Dimitris Athanitis belongs to a certain wave of Greek Cinema which is in full swing, attracting the justified curiosity of international festivals, and in particular of European. With 2000 + 1 Shots in 2000 and Three Days Happiness in 2012, as well as other feature films and a few short films in the decade of 1990, the director already confirms his narrative point of view, exploring the themes of solitude within a lascivious or even dirty urban space that leaves no breath to the individual.
With the passing of time, one finds out that Athanitis is also a cinema harbinger of the existential, economic and social crisis of a Greek that has been abandoned in its fate. With Invisible, he outlines somehow the portrait of a man in crisis, as he did in 2000 + 1 Shots. Here, the individual no longer owns himself, he is lost in the city, a victim of a merciless financial crisis, dismissed from a factory without warning, separated from his wife, who, when she hears about his crash, she seems completely indifferent.
Why in Greece of crisis "save yourself" is the moto, with the exception of a few who benefit from the negative economic juncture to get even richer. But what impresses in this latest film by Athanitis is the originality of directing, which denies linearity to confom better to the main hero, Aris (the name means Mars), a dehumanized creature and lost after he is fired from his work, who confuses reality with imagination, crossing the living space with a heartbreaking despair, which has no name, invisible, as he is too.
Because Invisible is mainly a film of directing and acting. The narrative, surprising in it’s simplicity, shines through the torturous, iconoclastic and delicately revolutionary direction of a cinematographer who witnesses his time. Giannis Stankonglou, who had already made a sensation in Hardcore (2004) by Denis Iliadis and in Homer by Konstantinos Giannaris, embodies the hero of the film, Aris, with a remarkable distancing, with a metaphysical absence, rebuilding space around him and turns the filmed Greece to a geographical autopsy. He has the face of a wrestler who has no more energy, a former lover of life who has lost all his hopes, a worker whom they do not want him anymore.
The short sexual act with the barwoman, after his dismissal, is nothing more than a testimony of a last erotic relationship with life. Because for Athanitis and so for Aris everything seems lost, the air is not breathing, the future does not exist, the present is nothing but a false survival: Aris's wife has a new lover, his friends almost abandon him, someone offers him a miserable job that he leaves at once. The only horizon of hope in this blue, transparent sky, is his son, a six-year-old, played by Christos Benetsis, whose wonderful presence melts our heart. Or maybe it is also the camera of Yannis Fotis, hanging on it, filming him as the gentle care of a father to his child.
Papercut's soundtrack appears in a dash, composed of short pieces that penetrate the deformed soul of Aris, sometimes causing some ups, short but tragic. And there is also the editing of Stamatis Magoulas (as in Three Days Happiness), which categorically refuses to follow a linear narrative, prefers to blur the landscape by diving into a kind of internal road movie where there are no remembrancies or memory, leaving this postmodern Greek anti-hero directing to a deceptive and uncertain destiny.
Finally, Invisible is a film with a purely cinematic narrative: through each of the city's images, through each interior, the camera extracts the tragic spasms of a space that seems to be kept alive by artificial means.
INVISIBLE, a Dimitri Athanitis film, trailer from Dimitri Athanitis on Vimeo.