It's Aggeliki's eleventh birthday, and a well-organised party is held in her honour. All the ingredients of a usual birthday gathering are here: a scrumptious sugar-glazed cake, cheerful music, and the warm embrace of a doting grandfather. However, is any of this real, or is this an elaborate facade? Little by little, as a devastating act of despair unfolds before Aggeliki's shocked family, wolves and lambs alike gradually find themselves lured into an elaborate web of hideous secrets, deceptive appearances, and a frantic downward spiral of lies. In the end, as the sinners' blood-curdling evildoings kept behind closed doors unravel, one can't help but plunge into the depths of the human soul, and the unfathomable secrets within.Written by
If I were to rename this film I would call it "behind closed doors", although that's perhaps too much on the nose. Closed doors are a visual leitmotif of the film, creating an atmosphere of increasing anxiety throughout. This psychological thriller should come with multiple content warnings, despite most of its triggering elements being implicit rather than explicitly shown on screen.
A seemingly ordinary and very well-adjusted family (the kinship relations of which are -deliberately- confusing in the first part of the film, until we understand who is who to each other) has to deal with a seemingly unexplained tragic loss of one of its younger members. As we spend more time inside the family home, observing the interactions and dynamics, we grow increasingly uneasy. The clues are everywhere from scene one, but, like in real life sometimes, we treat them with a level of disbelief "could it be...? no way... they're just our nice and polite next door neighbours".
At the technical level, everything works: the performances are all just as understated as the aesthetics of the film require and totally in sync with each other, the photography, the pacing, the editing... I can't find a fault.
Like others have pointed out, the influence of the Greek Weirdwave cinema is present, although the "weirdness" is comparatively rather toned down, with the plainly disturbing elements being dialled up to 11. Let's just say it's not a film you watch if you want to feel better about the world.
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