Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Soul Kicking

‘The water calls. It's a long time since anyone drowned.’

In January, I wrote about Spirtokouto (Matchbox), an impressive first film from Yiannis Economides. Now, here, at, it’s possible to watch the Cypriot filmmaker's second film, made in 2005, Η Ψυχή στο Στόμα (I Psychi sto Stoma – known in English as Soul Kicking).

Soul Kicking is even bleaker than Spirtokouto, depicting a world in which human relations have broken down and all that's left is violence, brutality, selfishness and loathing.

The film opens with a line from Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck (1836) – 'The water calls. It's a long time since anyone drowned' – and indeed Economides' film is a reworking of the play, which follows the tragic demise of an abused and harried man made insane by the obscene society in which he lives and is driven towards a sacrificial murder.

The very talented Erikkos Litsis, who had the lead role in Spirtokouto, stars again in Soul Kicking. In the clip from Soul Kicking above, Takis (Litsis) is called round to deal with a family dispute, but it's too much for him.

Also, here’s an article (in English) from 18 months ago about the new wave of Greek filmmakers.

This blog, in Greek, has more information on Yiannis Economides' films.

I should also mention that Spirtokouto can now be seen here, with English subtitles.


legein said...

Although the article on the new wave of Greek filmakers is informative some of the commentators are truly idiotic. For example:

"These films are very honest and candid, something that is new for us. We have always had this burden of history, of Plato and Socrates, and we have been guilty of relying on our past. But now directors are looking hard at what is around them, and there is plenty to see in Greek society."

Am I living in a dreamworld? I am sure there have been hundreds of Greek artists since Plato and Socrates. And when was the last Greek film on Plato and Socrates?

"We think we don't have to work so hard because of the Athenian golden age. We can always fall back on the fifth century BC."

When was the last time a Greek mentioned the Athenian Golden Age? If only.

Also, there is the predictable English focus on the dirty, sleazy, immigrant, subversive and proletariat. I suppose this reflects their own psychological mindset more than any thing else.

Finally, the comments about Greece and Turkey are right out of a Lonley Planet travel guidebook.

All in all a thoroughly disapoointing article but then again should I be surprised as it is from The Guardian.

john akritas said...

I agree, L; but thought the article worthwhile in as much as it pointed out the filmmakers involved in this new wave of Greek films. The Guardian is a joke, of course.

legein said...

Some of information content of the article was good but I have detected a strong anti-Hellenic slant in the Guardian; particularly, from that reprobate journalist Helena Smith stationed in Athens.

If we had serious intelligence services, an operative would plant a few kilograms of cocaine in her apartment, she would be arrested and deported from Greece with her passport stamped never to be allowed in Greece again.

john akritas said...

I've met Ms Smith, who is a lesbian. She is a high representative of the patronising parasite foreigners too incompetent, alienated or stupid to make a living in their own country and who, for some reason (cheap beer and wine?) have descended on Greece in recent years and then can't stop whining about the place. To her credit, unlike a lot of foreign journalists in Greece, she actually speaks Greek – she was born in Cyprus, her father was the Observer's correspondent there, I think – but she hasn't got a clue about Greek culture and society and looks down her nose at the country and its people. Deport her? Definitely.

I should add that the only worthwhile films I've seen so far in this Greek new wave have been the Economides' films – and I didn't reailse he was a Cypriot until after I'd seen them, so I can't be accused of wearing patriotic blinkers.

legein said...

Now it makes sense. Yes, I also detected a championing of lesbian relationships. Try and name me one Englishman who does not champion perversion?

I am sure she is the process of writing a resentful little article on the Holy Synods latest bit of common sense which will be distributed to all the "informed" opinion makers across Europe.

I have not seen many of the so called new wave of Greek films but they strike me as having too much reality ala On the Edge of the City. Although some of these films can be good (I enjoyed on the Edge of the City and Spirtokouto), they appear to lack the comic and/or tragic pathos of the earlier 1950 and 1960's films or inkling of a transcedence purpose. I suppose that is what they are reacting against. Anyway, it can be interesting for a while until one gets tired of all the subversion and wants to be back in the Platonic clouds or simply laughing.