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ANGEL

Greece, 1982 (MIFF 1987)

Director: George Katakouzinos

Angel is a young homosexual living discreetly in an unfriendly and destitute social milieu with his family in a squalid Athens' suburb. He meets and falls in love with Michae,l a marine and experienced "professional" who invites Angel to live with him and have an affair. Angel has nothing to lose by deserting the family home - an alcoholic father, a helplessly ill sister and an hysterical mother worn out by work.

Michael convinces Angel that the only way they can make ends meet is if the latter resorts to transvestite prostitution. He joins the dozens of others who wait for homosexual and bisexual customers at night along the highway to Athens airport or around the steep streets behind the fashionable Kolonaki Square in the city's centre. Angel suffers all kinds of humiliation working to support and enrich his lover and only feels better when helping out his family. The situation becomes increasingly unendurable...

Rapturously received by Greek critics and audiences (winning Best Picture, Best Screenplay Best Actor and the Critics Association Prize at Thessaloniki, it went on to become the highest grossing Greek film ever up to that time), its reception overseas has been checquered. Based on a well-known court case where a transvestite prostitute was tried for murdering his lover, the film itself is intended as an allegory.

This is not the gay-themed social docudrama it has been widely misrepresented as outside of Greece. It is a finely crafted, albeit somewhat florid, melodrama with aspirations to high tragedy. Its real theme is almost as old as drama itself - the conflict between good and evil. This is Billy Budd as Fassbinder might have filmed it!

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