Dir/scr: Yiannis Veslemes. Greece. 2014. 74mins
This curious genre film from Greece is something of a surprising choice to play in Karlovy Vary’s East of the West competition where it received its world premiere. While general audiences will probably be turned off by its stylised aesthetic and abstract story, genre fans should be able to find much to enjoy here.
The film’s aesthetic – a neon yet drab underground world – is certainly memorable, though the story may elicit groans from those not au fait with Norway’s filmic ancestors.
Greece. 1984. Vampire Zano (Vangelis Mourikis) finds himself in the Disco Zardoz where he dances the night away with the various weirdos and freaks who surround him. After meeting prostitute Alice and Norwegian drug dealer Peter, Zano finds himself embroiled in a mysterious plot that will take him to the depths of the mountains where he discovers the person who has been manipulating him in order to feel the embrace of eternal life.
Norway betrays a multitude of influences from Star Wars to Rocky Horror and even John Boorman’s 1970s cult film Zardoz. It all makes for a rather disjointed and almost theatrical experience in a film that never quite hangs together but has a number of striking moments. The film’s aesthetic – a neon yet drab underground world – is certainly memorable, though the story (especially the reveal of the ultimate villain of the piece) may elicit groans from those not au fait with Norway’s filmic ancestors.
A positive for the film is also Mourikis’s lead performance as Zano, a vampire of shabby chic whose mantra of “If I stop dancing, my heart will stop beating,” propels the film forward and creates something of an engaging anti-hero.
One gets the impression that Norway is also struggling to be an allegory about the current situation in Greece and how the current generation have been sucked dry by the previous. But it gets slightly lost amongst the more crazy elements of the film.
While it may struggle to pick up distribution, the film will probably get the attention of genre festivals – especially those looking for vampire films with something of an arthouse bent – and will most likely attract a cult following over the next few years.
Production company/contact: Horsefly Productions, firstname.lastname@example.org
Producers: Yorgos Tsourgiannis, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos
Cinematography: Christos Karamanis
Editor: Yannis Chalkiadakis
Main cast: Vangelis Mourikis, Alexia Kaltsiki, Daniel Bolda, Markos Lezes, Vasilis Kamitsis, Sofi Zanninou, Yannis Bostantzoglou