Dir. Argyris Papadimitropoulos. Greece. 2016. 104mins
Deftly drawn and filmic Third features explores the theme of fading romantic hope and loss of respect and confidence seen through the experience of one midlifer in this menacingly suspenseful cautionary tale that proves to a powerful watch despite its predicatible outcome.
This one-sided holiday romance echoes Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake, SUNTAN ‘s focus is heterosexual rather than gay but the relationship between the central characters is similar – a young and vivacious girl teases with and seduces a hesitant older man, seemingly for the hell of it and there’s no other reason why she should be drawn to him on the cusp of life and youthful vigour and a future hundreds of miles away..
SUNTAN in the latest Greek new wave title and Papadimitropoulos joins Yorgos Lanthimos, Alexandros Avranas and Athina Rachel Tsangari all exciting filmmaking talent from Greece.
We first meet 40-something doctor Kostis (Efthymis Papadimitriou) Landing on the Island of Antiparos to take up his at his new job as a GP in the local clinic. A portly smoker, balding and sprouting moobs, Kostis is hardly an adonis but he has a kindly reflectively melancholy appeal. The remote island looks bleak and washed out in the wintery sunshine. Over rowdy New Year celebrations a crude newfound friend describes the ‘hot pussy’ that will arrive with the summer holidays, when the island’s population swells from it meagre 800. Kostis attends to the island’s mostly elderly population while he glumly awaits the warmer weather, which comes with a well-crafted shift in tone and vibrant colours. The sun-filled island suddenly plays host to bawdy young students who sunbathe naked and guzzle beer. And Kostis attends to their injuries caused mainly from bike accidents. The surreal atmosphere is swings between bacchalean feasts and slowmo scenes as Kostis falls for 21-year-old Anna (Elli Triggou), and her crowd of Eurotrashy mates who come and go as they please. Costis plies them all with drinks attempting to inveigle himself into their crwod. But he is just a plaything to these young things. Seemingly a fuck is just fuck and Kostis has seriously misjudged the mood when he admonishes Anna for disappearing to Mykonos without letting him know. Clearly his obsession has got the better of him. Anna is not amused.
Papadimitropoulos takes an ordinary character and pushes him to the boundaries – it would be a shame to reveal more of the narrative, but tragedy is the inevitable outcome for all concerned in this gripping and uncomfortable thriller MT
ON RELEASE FROM 28 APRIL 2017