As disturbing as the film’s title, Alexandros Avranas’ second feature, ‘Miss Violence’, covers a lot of ground, superficially resembling Michael Haneke’s early work and coincidentally drifting into Godardian political territory but always remaining a product of its time and place and having much to offer a discerning viewer.
And it’s seriously ambitious, blending those often uncomfortable bed fellows, a single minded intellectual rigour and an intense hard edged realism, but keeps everything in check – masterfully – with a formalism in complete alignment with the film’s emotional temperature.
The drama unfolds slowly in a modest family home and its immediate surroundings against the backdrop of severe Greek austerity but this is not an analogy as some would have us believe but a part of it.
It begins with an ending for an eleven year old, who calmly jumps to her death from a high balcony window during a birthday party. She was one of four girls living with the family, being either the daughter or granddaughter or, possibly, both of the softly spoken but creepy patriarch, ‘Father’, who rules with an iron rode. The eldest, Eleni, was the mother of the dead girl but seems unmoved by her death, plodding along with a nervous grin and a Stepford Wives like mechanical nothingness and could pass for something from a zombie picture. Everything points to a Josef Fritzl type set-up but the suspicious authorities can find no evidence and Avranas is giving little away.
Father is a frustrated accountant/brute who has hit hard times but has enough to keep the family going – just. There are hints of secret business deals, which take him to dodgy locales seen at close quarters or from long shots that come across as an eerie extension of his self-contained domestic realm and slightly beyond our grasp.
And then, out of the blue, there is an abrupt change, all the more potent for the previous restraint. Suddenly, we are drilling deep beneath the film’s surface to the vile excrement of a Capitalist system gone wrong, where extreme patriarchal control and a jet black market serve a monstrous self-gratification and greed, a terrifyingly real and depraved ‘individualism’.
But there remains a consistency to the film’s style – a highly alarming indifference – which echoes Father’s attempts to naturalise everything. ‘It almost seems like nothing has happened’ says one of the suicide investigators.
Themis Panou is intriguing in the lead role, providing a compelling portrait of a character who pays fastidious attention to those minute everyday details that his conduct renders irrelevant.
And experienced cinematographer, Olympia Mytilinaiou, does much to set the film’s pace and tone.
This is a nasty film that deliberately leaves us with a foul taste but demands attention. Which it did at the Venice International Film Festival where Avranas and Panou won best director and actor respectively.buy cialis 20 mg generic cialis online cheap cialis generic availablepurchase cialis ireland cialis monthly cost buy cialis with dapoxetine cialis generic buy
- Year: 2013
- Country: Greece
- Filmmaker: Alexandros Avranas
- Screenwriter: Alexandros Avranas and Kostas Peroulis
- Producer: Alexandros Avranas and Vasilis Chrysanthopoulos
- Cinematographer: Olympia Mytilinaiou
- Editor: Nikos Helidonidis
- Cast: Themis Panou, Eleni Roussinou, Constantinos Athanasiades, Sissy Toumasi, Kalliopi Zontanou, Reni Pittaki, Chloe Bolota, Nikos Hatzopoulos and Minas Hatzisavvas
- Duration: 98 mins