09 March, 2012
by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
Greece has, of course, been in the news lately, for its economic travails and rioting in the streets. But something else is happening in the southern European nation....a film renaissance that is bringing something unique to international film festivals and screens. One of the finer examples of this trend is ATTENBERG,the acclaimed 2010 film by writer/director/producer Athina Rachel Tsangari. The film made its international debut at the 2010 Venice Film Festival, where it won several awards. The North American premiere was at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and the film has charmed festival audiences in North America for the past year, before finally opening theatrically today in New York via specialty distributor Strand Releasing.
In this wonderfully deadpan, surprisingly touching tale from the burgeoning new Greek cinema (and the country’s official submission to the 2012 Oscars), awkward 23-year-old Marina is stuck in a dead-end seaside town. She passes the days watching David Attenborough nature documentaries and listening to Suicide songs, but relationships with her ailing father, promiscuous friend Bella and a visiting engineer (DOGTOOTH director Yorgos Lanthimos) push her into contact with the strange and funny world of adulthood.
The film opens in limited release at the IFC Center in downtown Manhattan and will be slowly opened wider in the weeks ahead. That such an acclaimed film took almost two years to reach American screens is frustrating, but it is finally here for adventurous audiences to discover and cherish. In the time it took to finally get seen on the big screen here, Tsangari has produced two films, the 2011 film ALPS and the recent PEAR BLOSSOM HIGHWAY. Hopefully it will not take as long for these films to hit American shores.