CHEVALIER (Greece – 2015)

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for Cinetalk.net

At the Heart of a certain renaissance of Greek Cinema stands Athina Rachel Tsangari , producer  Yorgos Lathimos Oscar nominated film Dog tooth.

Chevalier is Tsangari’s third feature film as a director. The screenplay is written by Lathimos collaborator, Efthymis Filippou (The lobster).

Poster’s tagline : A buddy movie without the buddies.

Six men are on a fishing trip at sea on a luxury yacht. In a succession of strange mind games they try to figure out who is the «best» man, testing one another in a spirit of rivalry, over a ring (the chevalier), on every possible subject.

Playing on creating an ambiance with a good ensemble cast (of men) and focusing on dialogues rather than relaying on action with its use of Aegean Sea’s charms ( beautifully photographed by Christos Karamanis) Chevalier plays like a human study.

But, the ambiance and the bizarre plus a slow pacing seems the lot of too many offerings coming from the art film community these days. There is simply too many of these films «shot for festivals purpose». The film buff is stuck between these stationary movies, never completely satisfactory with «open endings» and the endless superhero sagas offered by Hollywood. It may be appealing if it hadn’t become a standard. The urgency to get another brand of film making brings us (the critics) to praise them. This time, I’ll let the colleagues do the pushing.

Don’t get me wrong, Chevalier is fairly done, but it simply doesn’t come together and lacks the appeal and sense of story telling of a Theo Angelopoulos (The travelling players, Ulysse’s Gaze).

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