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A FOOLISH LOVE

Greece, 1981 (MIFF 1982)

Director: Giorgos Panoussopoulos

He is a young man, about 20, who lives with his widowed mother in one of the innumerable nondescript apartments lost in the great concrete jungle which Athens has become. He wants to study astronomy at the University, and spends most of his time scrutinizing the stars and the surrounding world through an old telescope which his grandfather had used long ago to look for mermaids in the Aegean Sea. On the other side of the wide avenue, in a rather similar apartment, lives Stella with her husband and daughter. Trapped in the dull, mechanical routine of a meaningless marriage devoid of joy or pleasure, she feels her youth slipping away and grey middle-age creeping up on her. The young man, Haris, follows her movements through his spyglass for a whole week. He gradually drops out of his gang of friends who spend every evening playing with death astride their lethal, semi-illegal motorcycles. He moves deeper and deeper into Stella's life. The resolution of this drama, a film with clear echoes and references to Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, provides a suspect climax to what has been a film of quite vigorous narrative development. Despite this lapse, it is a remarkable and quite unexpected film to come from Greece. Greek film critic, Yannis Bacoyannopoulos, has summed up its achievement with some hyperbole but an underlying accuracy.

"Without beating about the bush, this is the first great Greek American film. The adjective 'American' is used here in a positive sense, not as an antithesis to the adjective 'Greek', but in combination with it.

"The implication is twofold: first, by 'American* I mean cinema in its most genuine form, and with the maximum degree of efficacy. In other words, an art which uses the quickest way from initial intent to final result, an art in which a highly perfected technique and the sheer virtuosity of directorial practice are made to serve the requirements of expression in the best possible wa> abolishing the distance between screen and spectator and ushering the latter straight into the living dream of the cinema."

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