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Artherapy (2010)

 -  Drama | Music  -  11 March 2010 (Greece)
5.3
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A docu fiction film by Nicos Perakis In the heart of the historic and multicultural center of Athens, in the midst of summer, three youngsters with a passion for arts come together in the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Manolis Anastasakos
Rosyna Baltatzi
Amalia Bennet
Andreas Constantinou
Katerina Filosofopoulou
Hariton Haritonidis
Antonis Ioannou
Pigi Konstantinou
Dimitris Lignadis
Marina Litou
Melissanthi Mahout
Nikos Orphanos
Melina Paionidou
Ilia Patapi
Hristina Sabatakou
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Storyline

A docu fiction film by Nicos Perakis In the heart of the historic and multicultural center of Athens, in the midst of summer, three youngsters with a passion for arts come together in the musical and visual arts scene. Ilia the front woman of the band Stiletto Scag, is searching for her place in the limelight. Alexandros, a street artist, must deliver a mural to his sponsor. And Andreas, a senior at the National Theater School Drama is trying to get by financially, while rehearsing exhaustively for his finals. Three days are enough to disrupt the "social truce", when their expectations are shattered by the multi faceted "establishment", whether it be the law or simply mainstream culture. Most of the characters and events in the film are true. Characters: Ilia Parapi, Alexandrois Vasmoulakis, Andreas Konstantinou, Nikso Orfanos, Rossina Baltatzi, Pigi Konstantinou, Christina Sabatakou, Melissanthi Mahout, Dimitria Samolis, Giorgos Souris, Mairy Sinatsaki, Antonis Ioannou, Manolia ... Written by NICOS PERAKIS

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Plot Keywords:

pseudo documentary

Genres:

Drama | Music

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11 March 2010 (Greece)  »

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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Stay in the Light
Written by Marina Litou
Lyrics by Pigi Konstantinou
Performed by Pigi Konstantinou, Ilia Patapi and Andreas Constantinou
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User Reviews

PR Ghost Cinema
30 April 2010 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

To what still persists - and indeed does - from the status of nation-state in our current predicament, it is crucially important to remind ourselves that cinema contributes to as much as it challenges the imaginary; films help alleviate class tensions when appropriately handled (I'm thinking of the under-appreciated Luc Besson), construct a narrative which can function as a light-hearted and arbitrary mirror, or in cases of aesthetic dignity pare down the questioning, and refrain from providing ready answers (give your own example).

So, what about this film? We are supposedly presented with a bunch of fresh kids, now entering the fabric of society most of them, with the means of their artistic endeavors; these endeavors comprise street art, dramatic art, conceptual art, painting, vocals, song, dance, video, Greek (sic) rap.

These kids have no private life to speak of, unless it is in strangely irrelevant one-liners, falling during group gatherings where they brainstorm artistic (hyper)activities, or the abandoned whiff of amorous interest between the singer and the street artist. Apart from the casual brainstorming, people from all kinds of pro areas start parading on screen for the excuses of a ludicrous faux-documentary style, so mangled are the ideological co-ordinates (as if such abundant pro appearance wanted to scream how creative this Greece is!) that the only distinction the film gets is being the first of PR Ghost Cinema.

All those pros are put on the same par with the kids (all characters are introduced with a tag at the bottom of the screen): that is a sly, seriously deluded bluff of cinema-verite procedures. With the alibi of let's-gather-the-most-we-can from avant-garde artistic vocabulary, the film passes from being a rich agenda of Greek public relations to a poor relative of European stylistic entrepreneurialism. We have ghost writers for illiterate celebrities? Let's have the equivalent in film-making, and two for the price of one! Let the director write his own script as if he ghost-wrote it from the standpoint of a European "colleague", because the hegemony of being "contemporary" demands it so. And is unforgiving.

Watch how in the meeting-for-the-video scene lines pass from American sitcom-snatched to a dismissive gimme a break attitude, as if that proved how Greek or whatever one is. This is where the film shows its clueless bones. For all the previous bad acting (pay attention to how "The last of Saturdays," one of the greatest poems by Odysseus Elytis, is recited, with the tone ranging from the bathetic to paper-thin), this is also ideologically preposterous: a few minutes later a female group marches towards the filming of the video some have been cynical about, and one of them self-congratulating says it is better for women and women only to do the job: what a refined allegory for the status of women in Greece, and quite a new take on Greek feminism! It even outshines, I think, the mock confrontation scene between the street artist and the cops: the artist witnesses an explosion (note that no one else is around the spot: that does not come as an effect of being the one witness, but as a bad interaction between production values and some kind of warding off people that could function as extras and give the verisimilitude of the city's fiber) and that means being dragged allover as tepid suspect. What an exchange concerning conceptual art and the public sphere between artist and officer! Not on the funny side, not on the engaged side either, it is another instance of perplexed ideological strata: art and the police-state in Greece are so apart for the subject, that it is increasingly difficult to integrate symbolically the political dissociation.

Unless one can dismiss any kind of interrogation, as the street artist does; subversive art appeals to rich people and institutions because they envy its underground status, he cheekily says. What is missed in that cynic attitude is what his personal investment in that system is, and that badly echoes the film's own procedures.

Perhaps music in the end could shape it. But bad cinematography and a coda where the previously heard R&B, Greek rap and a random group of Paki singers/dancers mix together (leaving out any trace of Greek music) read like this all happens in a Third World European country. The cynical attitude dancing and jump-cutting on screen is depressing: don't these people have a life where the other is recognized? Are stories run amiss hasting one to the other, as a slice-of-life on, yawn, acid? Is Greece (in) such a state? In the end, we witness a big, youthful defection to the artistic West, and in the last shot a scream on screen, for the purposes of rehearsing one of the Greek repertoire's most important plays "I Die as a Country". For all the writer's output, this is the most frequently played, and perhaps this is the most telling symptom of the state of things: written at the end of the junta, and despite his other plays, it is as if the change-over period remains stuck at this point, disavowing or disabling later efforts, the trauma revolving around the same rare artistic achievements it thinks it has to offer. But this alert instead of being lamented is exploited.

Mr Perrakis should start from here and then give us the kids' fresh exploit in the frame of a purposeful film concerning the Greek/artistic imaginary, or he could at least be the narrator instead of that annoying girlie voice, showing some real engagement in his project. As such all freshness is a mish-mash of shilly-shally appropriated by publicists and all hacks involved.


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