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I admit that I prefer to stick to "male" rather than "female" views of the scenario, if such a distinction exists, since I only have a pair of "male" eyes.
This is a story of a volcanic explosion of unfulfilled needs, prevailed by perhaps, the first and foremost one of spiritual nature: "Eros" (meaning in ancient Greek: being in love). Needs of a life, devoted to a noble and demanding cause (serving as a doctor), but apparently, hardly receiving any significant material or sentimental payback. Needs, suppressed throughout the years, probably underneath layers of patience, constraints, expectations and surrounding social indifference. Eventually, needs of a heart, permanently besieged by loneliness. In the middle of such an inner world of unstable equilibrium, "Life" itself, boosted by the Aegean sunlight and erotic environment, explodes in apocalyptic glorious reflections of bold nudity, lust, joy, freedom to the extent of Bacchanalian orgy and sometimes rowdiness. An explosion that tantalizes the ethical boundaries that hold this world together, as it triggers its pursue for love, happiness and reward.
The main character, Kostis, a doctor, disembarks in a world where he is expected to lead a flat, low expectations life of serving the poor local people in almost exile conditions (especially in winter). Half a year later, summertime (both actually and metaphorically) promiscuously brakes through his door in the form of Anna, a young liberated woman, determined to drink life bottoms up, along with her company, people of similar attitude. Anna, unaware of the significance of her impact in Kostis' life, lures him carelessly into summertime delights including herself and so, the doctor after surrendering to the temptation, inevitably falls in love with her and dives eagerly, albeit defenseless in the deep waters of this experience.
In the meantime, he is already under pressure from an increasing feeling of inadequacy, as he has already met, firstly, a womanizer and then an old classmate, now a plastic surgeon, successful in their own ways in Kostis' eyes. These are people, he could have been similarly as successful as, since he is almost the same age as them and of more or equal skills and potential.
Inexperienced in handling the psychological implications of his close intimate encounter with Anna, who seems to provide an ideal way out of his misery, the troubled hero is drawn into a schizophrenic approach of the situation, as she, initially ignores and later reacts gradually with astonishment, indifference and repulsion to his passion and clumsy efforts to persuade her into a long term relationship. The more his desperation and failure grow, the more he tries to bend reality to his needs and violent and intrusive, becomes.
In the meantime, starting from the days of seeking Anna's companion and as the situation grows darker and obsessive in his mind, Kostis slips into a more and more unprofessional and cynical attitude regarding his medical duties towards the local community, which in turn traverses the line from embracement to discontent, anger and finally, to his official expulsion.
Eventually, Kostis, submitting to his passion and determined to quench his thirst, finds his way to make his love object available to his yearning, though without consent. And then, exactly at the point of catastrophe beyond remedy, sense arises from the depths of his turbid mind to take him aback with an instant realization of the vanity of his cul-de-sac actions. Actions that instead of relief, lead everybody involved, to an increasingly painful and descending spiral.
Yet, no gods exist in our time to put things back in place and provide atonement. The "hero", an actually deeply sensitive human, is left alone in his desperation, stemming out of his inability to "possess" the woman he has fallen for, care for her and provide her with his love. Instead of all of the above, he unwillingly reverts back to the only limited practice and care he is allowed to exercise upon her, medical care, admitting, at the same time (as his crying implies), his defeat.
A lively cinematography with constant and absorbing pace all the way to the film credits. Vivid depiction of the Central Aegean summertime mood and environment. Sequences, completely successful in providing insight to characters and situations and getting feelings across. Authentically crafted and acted characters and behaviors. Credible representation of aspects of life in a typical Central Aegean Greek island, both during winter and summer. A web of events and encounters, thoughtfully selected and woven towards the final climax. Occasionally, easy but not-trivial pictorial symbolism. Presentation of inner and outer tension and unease in carefully measured doses. Directness without unnecessary exaggeration. Above all, from a watcher's point of view, a feeling of familiarity with a lot of the situations unfolding before his eyes, empathy for either or both of the two main characters, depending on his/her past experiences and their aftermath.
Certainly, a film to live with and discuss for days to come, after its watching.
This is one of the most real movies I have ever seen, the acting is awesome, it's so good that I don't know if the actors are not just ordinary guys and girls been themselves.
They say the perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing else to remove, and I think this movie is all about that, straight and honest like life, nothing redundant. The one thing that can be improved is the soundtrack, something more like Chambao would be great but overall good job even on this matter.
If you ever been in love and ever been heartbroken if you ever been alive you'll love that movie, really love it, you'll hate it and love it at the same time.
This is the kind of film that puritanical, emotionally stunted Hollywood - and probably even the rest of increasingly Islamified Western Europe - is not capable of making nowadays. It's a searingly human drama about unrequited love, the consequences of ageing, and the depths to which a human can sink when failure and rejection become commonplace. It's brave, bold and beautiful.
Casually erotic (the actress who plays the frequently nude Anna could be described as cinematic Viagra), superbly acted by the lead (his character has to plummet to depths that are excruciating to watch) and unnervingly accurate in whatever scene it turns its eye to, it dares to tell a story that is as dark as we all are beneath our exteriors. And it triumphs.
The outraged person who gives this film 1/10 on this site hilariously appears not to have even seen it as they get a major plot point completely wrong.
Prior to watching Suntan, I had preconceived ideas I was about to experience a story, possibly a comedy, about a middle aged male who takes a fancy to a younger female, while on holiday, and misinterpreting her body language during the course of their stay. I was correct to a certain extent.
Suntan goes further. There is a middles aged man, Kostis, played brilliantly by Makis Papadimitriou. There is a girl half his age, Anna, played brilliantly by Elli Tringou. Kostis plays the part of a lonely doctor on a holiday resort. Anna is on holiday with a group of friends, staying in tents. Kostis meets Anna via the surgery, as Anna has grazed her leg. Taking a shine to Anna, Kostis heads to the beach with aims of getting to know Anna and her friends a little more. The girls are topless, sometimes naked, as the resort tolerates both nudist and those that prefer swimwear. Anna has a body to be proud of. During one scene, she performs a handstand in the sea, full bush on show above the waters surface. During after noon, Kostis and Anna kiss, and have sex on the beach. What Anna sees as a bit of fun, Kostis sees as long term love. It is form this moment, the story turns awkward, sad, dark.
Kostis turns to drink, becomes a stalker, before turning into an abductor, that almost leads to rape. It's the later half of the story I wasn't prepared for. It makes for difficult viewing. Up until this point, other than the slightly awkward moment here and there, the film makes for good viewing.
The whole cast are fantastic. There's some interesting camera work. Its one of those good films that takes the view there, to where the story unfolds, something that is sadly missing from many films these days.
Efthymis Papadimitriou turns in a good performance, portraying well both Kostis' pathetic eagerness to please the youngsters and providing a nice line in staring-eyed obsessiveness. He is also brave, offering to the camera his doughy, hairy body which is in marked contrast to the tanned firmness of the younger actors. The other characters - both tourists and locals - are all pretty much two-dimensional stereotypes, with the exception of Anna, young leader of the group and object of Kostis' admiration. Elli Triggou manages to make her not too obnoxious.
As soon as Kostis finds happiness with the group, movie law dictates that things are not going to end well and in that the film is entirely predictable - and I found that waiting for the inevitable embarrassment to happen distracted me from the rest of the film. So I am not sure I would bother to watch it again, but it was worth seeing once.
Over the following days, Kostis goes out bathing and partying with this same crazy group of young people again and again. However, it becomes obvious that although he hangs with this group he really is only interested in Anna. She is interested but only in a fleeting way but Kostis misinterprets this for love. Soon, he's obsessed and eventually this obsession leads to a complete disintegration of his life. This disintegration is tough to watch and the picture is unflinching.
This is a hard movie to categorize. It certainly is not a comedy. And, while it seems light and cheerful initially, later it becomes a very dark and ugly sort of story. This does not mean that the film is badly made .the acting is quite nice and the story engaging. But it also is a tough sell for the average viewer. Of course the film has a lot of nudity such is life on many beaches in Greece. But it also ends on a very violent and disturbing note and that I you should know that the film ends with a rather vivid rape scene. It could conjure up memories of past victimization and is a bit tough to watch so viewers should beware. Overall, this is a well made film that becomes tougher and tougher to watch. Very well made, it manages to convey a lot with a minimal amount of dialog. It certainly is interesting .but also is not for all tastes.
Now the warning: this film kicks you in the guts and you will agonize in the dirt for hours. You cannot help feeling pity for the forty something doc... and of course, for yourself... even though everybody has to learn the lesson eventually to:
- let go
- leave the stage behind to give space for the next generation.
Coursebook case study of midlife crisis.
Unfortunately, it hurts like hell.
Fortunately... it hurts like hell.
It hurts like hell.
And then I watched it.
Eff me sideways.
I shall repeat that for added effect.
Eff me sideways.
Because what this actually is is a gloriously shot, tightly paced, hedonistic take on a climactic midlife realization that caught me off guard on every possible level of expectation I prematurely held before experiencing it.
Against the contrasting backdrop of dawn's naked flesh quivering with the brazen need to explore, coming in like a tide to swallow whole the bashful self-consciousness of the late afternoon, we journey through the sad and ordinary, over to the passionate and never freer, only to eventually enter the dark tunnel of unhingedness...
...as we progressively come to the understanding that we're doing so while riding on a train purposefully manufactured brakeless.
Since I fear this is one of those movies about which I could go on for an eternity and a day, a quick summary and I'm out.
Suppressed, depressed, obsessed and, finally, possessed by his own demons, Kostis evokes our sympathy and demands our loathing while having us squirming with second-hand embarrassment on the edge of our seats.
Anna's care-free nuisance quickly abides as she progressively morphs into a mirror of perilous exposure held against the viewers ourselves, now, then, definitely in dormant theory, for some in operating practice.
Two worlds collide, two bodies connect, two psyches shatter into razor-sharp shards of discordant bareness.
Do it. Experience it. You are both Him and Her, past or present, it doesn't matter; somewhere between the misconception and the dread, you will find yourself but, perhaps most importantly, you will be offered a chance to find out about yourself.
From me, a gleeful nod of approval to anyone still reading, and yet another, emphatic,
Eff. Me. Sideways.
But it's exactly what a nudist film needs to be. Honest, unflinching, raw. This is an examination of what every American Nudist goes through. (to use the title of a failed film I was forced to make).
We middle-aged nudists have to come to terms with millennials calling themselves Young Naturists, who are rewriting the rules of nudist etiquette. And while they thrive, embracing the "new hedonism" which actually is pretty mild, and naturally, beautiful realized in this film, older nude beach goers like our hero Kostis feel like a relic, who no longer fit in with the younger crowd no matter how hard they try to hang on to romantic notions of love.
Kostis, a pathetic romantic fool, ends up like every unattractive romantic fool, neglecting his professional duties and spiraling downward in some misguided attempt to recapture something he never had.
And it can only end tragically. Because ultimately, romance is selfish. Romantics are self absorbed egomaniacs who are unable to see the world as it truly is. And romantic naturists are the worst offenders.
That being said, there are some weaker moments, Some scenes are repetitive and the fight choreography was awful. I was hoping it'd be even more violent, but that's my American attitude showing.
Overall, I highly recommend this film because it's the direction that any indie filmmaker interested in using nudity in their art should go. It's bold, daring and immediately relevant to our lifestyle.
It is so obvious to a viewer that Kostis sticks to this ridiculous attraction simply because he has a need to regain some meaning in his life, something motivating which would make him alive. The random appearance of his successful schoolmate as a tourist on the island shows us what he could have been, and what he failed in his professional and private life. It is clear that Kostis is desperately trying to compensate for that by believing in some heavenly love and relationship which could be an anesthetic for other flows in life. The girl who is young enough toe be both his mistress and his daughter, is so obviously a parody of the "life changing girl", just Kostis does not see it.
The film stops right at the moment when Kostis is just about to fall to the lowest point of the human being behavior. Luckily, he stops himself at the very last moment, and comes back to the reality. It is a little bit disappointing that in the end we did not see whether he has achieved any catharsis, or any personal gain from all the trauma he suffered. Otherwise, the film is recommendable because of its clear cuts in motifs and intentions, good cast, exciting plot, good acting and very good photography.
Kostis is the new doctor on the island and he has his fair share of patients for such a small place. However, one look at him and you can see he's not happy. Summer may bring sunshine and the kind of young tourists who give the Greek islands a bad name so it isn't long before Kostis is frequenting the local nudist beach. When he develops a fixation on Anna, a girl he has treated for a motorbike accident, he seems happier but we know his problems are just beginning.
You can tell from the opening shot there's going to be a heart of darkness to Papadimitropoulos' film. Kostis is the kind of sad sack whose very presence seems to conjure up bad vibes and you know that throwing himself into the local party scene can only end in tears. Very soon his reputation and his patients are suffering. Makis Papadimitriou is very good as Kostis but it's an underwritten role and the film itself feels slightly underwhelming. The scenery is fabulous and it will certainly make you want to go to the Greek islands though you may want to choose where and exactly what time of the year. You may also come out of this film in something of a downer.
I have quite a few bugbears with this film, while the acting is okay absolutely no one could make you believe any of these characters were actual people. They don't interact like normal people, they don't converse like normal people. Kostis goes from seeing guys his age chasing young girls as odd and not his thing, to not only doing exactly that but going a million miles further. The idea that Anna and her friends would take any interest in the dullest man on the island being their friend when they're so clearly about living life to the fullest, is hard enough to believe. There are a couple of scenes that just seem to be in there for the sake of looking good, which yes they are pleasing to the eye but that is all they offer. The film does feel very ponderous, in another film it might be ok to have extra scenes for artistic value whereas in this film you just wish it would pick up the pace.
The ending is a weird choice, we've witnessed a guy who in the beginning you feel does have a sense of morality and is maybe a bit weak willed or caves in to his infatuations but as the film goes on he just behaves worse and worse yet at arguably his lowest point that is where he draws the line? To that point he's been so weak and easily lead into being a terrible person, he's even went more than halfway through a very disturbing plan. I guess you could say he eventually broke or reached his limit, but to end there... there is no redemption for the character, there is no apparent consequence for his actions.