Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Nena Menti, Maria Kavoyianni, Akilas Karazisis, Joys Evidi, Alexis Georgoulis
Directors: Michalis Reppas, Thanasis Papathanasiou
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Studio: Wolfe Video Release Date: 03/21/2006 Run time: 100 minutes
"It's not very artistic, but it does the trick,"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Blackmail, murder, infidelity, subversive desire, it plays out just like a Greek tragedy, and who better to make a film about these subjects than the Greeks! The critics ravaged this melodrama when it came out the end of last year, but I must confess that kind of enjoyed it. Of course, not once is the film remotely realistic, and Michalis Reppas and Thansassis Papathanasiou's film is often crude and trite, but this totally over-the-top story is never dull and young Greek actor Yannis Tsimitselis provides some great eye candy.
When he was a boy a car accident left Christos's sister dead and his comatose father dependent on a respirator for the rest of his life. Now his father serves as something of a Greek chorus observing his money-starved family self-destruct from his corner of the house: his wife Magda (Nena Mendi) is not only sleeping with their tightfisted daughter's husband, Stelios (Alexis Georgoulis), but also appears to be conspiring with him to steal money and land away from a local businessman Giorgos (Akyllas Karazisis).
When Christos (Tsimitselis), walks into a room everyone notices him, he's a sulky pretty boy who works in the bakery belonging to Magda and zips around his provincial town on a motorcycle. He needs to move fast because he's juggling affairs with Fay, a pretty dance instructor, Gia (Joyce Evidi), a fixated older divorcée, and the manipulative Giorgos, who has a wife and two sons, but is actually closeted.
Christos can't keep the hectic pace up for long, and it eventually all comes to a climax, there's a complex web of sexual liaisons and real estate finagling, with a payoff that comes as a shock when the real blackmailer is finally revealed. The sexual scenes - particularly between the Christos and Giorgos are a bit tame, especially when you consider that the scenes between Christos and Gia are far more graphic. But the real scene-stealer and the one with the most laughs - is when Magda begins to give her son-in-law oral service, just as her daughter and his wife is arriving home.
Of course after about an hour or so all this amorality does get a little too hard to follow - there's the matriarch who is sleeping with her daughter's son, who is blackmailing his brother-in-law, who is having an affair with both an older woman and an older man, the latter of whom holds the key to a business venture, which is being manipulated by Magda, who ... well you get the picture. Whether you like Blackmail Boy will depend on your propensity for suffering through soap opera and unabashed amusing melodrama. For the most part, the action is just too preposterous to be taken seriously, but it's still fun to watch. Mike Leonard April 06.
The itch you can't scratch
Terran | Sunny CA USA | 05/27/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"i only give it 3 stars because it's a disappointing film. It tries so hard to achieve major Greek tragedy proportions that it becomes comical, yet I don't think that was ever the intention of the filmmaker. Actually, the casting is very good in the film, the matriarch who is having an affair with the son-in-law she despises is sexier than her daughter (europeans value older women) who is a true drudge. But the son-in-law isn't as good-looking as those on-screen seem to think he is, and he's a one-note brute, making his character not so interesting. the young man juggling various sexual commitments is interesting and physically suited to the role, but we don't get to see enough of his motivations to know why he's living the way he is. We're presented with a 'Christos' day-in-the-life and ultimately don't care. Truth is, the film needed to be much longer, and take in a greater time period, to cover all the characters in better than thumb-nail sketches. And there are coincidences and even character contradictions that we're expected not to question, even though the characters are presented to us as one-note. So we're not presented with enough depth of character of these characters to take their reactions/actions as true. The irony is, with all the implied sex in the film, and the film's trailer promotes this as a 'gay' film, the trailer is much hotter than the irritatingly borderline film itself. Actually, there's no real sex in the film between the male characters, at least none we see: not even a kiss. Though there is a suggested M/M rape scene that is matter-of-fact. (If you want more realistic 'greek boy sex scene' check out Australia's HEAD ON, which was directed by a woman, but also focuses more on the greek culture and what's it like to be a greek male identified as gay, as well as featuring some hot sex scenes.) In this film, every time a scene is about to get sexy, must be the Greek film code or sensibility of the film director, because the scene gets cut. (There's another Greek film long forgotten, had the same issue, about a hustler of gay men, but all the sex on-screen is about him and a woman.) Lots of suggestion, but nothing on-screen. Don't recall any nudity, except a side view of "Christos" bare ass, and then one scene where the older man Christos is having the affair with is FF but he's crying, so it's a 'so cold-almost shouldn't be in the film' excerpt: It's telling the only bit of real nudity is when the emotions on-screen are anything except sexy. Perhaps the Greeks shy away from what we take for granted if watching a film from France, say, or even the U.S. So watching this film is like having an itch you can't scratch, as it's leading you somewhere then abruptly cuts off, as if we're not adult enough to handle it. (remember the film CINEMA PARADISO and the priest who had every kiss scene cut out of the aired film? That's it in a nutshell.) And what's with the ending? I think we're meant to assume one thing, but actually you can't take it for granted as I thought of other possibilities as I was sitting there trying to take in that ridiculous ending, so the washout of an ending, it's like the conclusion that leaves you hanging: It's as if part two of the serial should be airing next week, and then we can find out what happens to the hero before his next calamity."
A Dysfunctional Family in the Manner of Greek Tragedy
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Thanasis Papathanasiou and Michalis Reppas serve the double capacities as writers and directors of this Greek film that places a contemporary Greek family on the stage of ancient Greek tragedies, even to the point of parallels between the characters and Greek tragedy roles! Though the story is complex and meanders a bit too much to follow with ease, it does make a powerful statement about families torn apart by death, greed, and all manner of sexual disloyalties.
The family consists of mother Magda who owns important land coveted by entrepreneurs and who runs a bakery while caring for her wholly invalid husband injured in a car crash that killed her daughter; a money-conscious daughter married to Stelios, an earthy stud of a man with whom Magda is having an affair; the silent near comatose father who sits observing the tragedy like a wordless Greek chorus; and Christos, the hunky son who is bisexual and sleeping with a young girlfriend and an older woman and an older bisexual male city official Yiorgos who is married with children and is in charge of the city planning, his chief project involves the land Magda owns.
The plot is convoluted but basically boils down to the development of a blackmail plan that will gain money for the land the family owns. The blackmail plan involves Christos' affair with Yiorgos in which videotapes are made of Christos' assignations with Yiorgos. The lives of all the characters are altered once the greed consumes them and there are discoveries, a death, betrayals, twists and feuds that end in a surprising manner.
The cast is strong, especially Yannis Tsimitselis as Christos, Nena Menti as Magda, Akilas Karazisis as Yiorgos, and Alexis Georgoulis as Stelios, with all of the supporting roles well cast. There may be just too many factors to keep straight in this film, but the overall effect is rather grand in its unremitting examination of a family in the process of disintegrating. Well done though taxing movie. Grady Harp, April 06