Xenia enters the Oscars race for Greece
by Joseph Proimakis
- After a long and successful festival run, Panos H Koutras' Cannes contender is vying for Oscars glory
After a long and successful run at the festivals, Panos H Koutras' Un Certain Regard contender Xenia [+see also:
interview: Panos H. Koutras
film profile] will be vying for Oscars glory as Greece's submission in the Best Foreign-language Film category.
Having battled brutal funding difficulties in order to be made (see the news), the film premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival before going on to pick up six prizes out of 14 nominations at the Hellenic Film Academy Awards, including the trifecta of Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Xenia is the fourth feature by Koutras, whose debut feature, The Attack of the Giant Moussaka, became an instant cult classic all across Europe. It comes on the heels of the Berlinale entry Strella [+see also:
film profile], and follows up on Koutras' familiar themes of family as part of one's identity. Shot across Greece on a trek from Crete to Thessaloniki, the film follows a duo of brothers born in Greece to an Albanian mother, as they travel through the country seeking their Greek father. Aiming to have him identify them as his sons and thus secure their citizenship, they redefine themselves through the disclosure of unknown parts of their familial past.
Having screened across Europe at top-tier festivals like Karlovy Vary, Reykjavik, Hamburg and, of course, Thessaloniki, the film crossed the Atlantic to be featured at Toronto, Seattle, Miami and Cleveland, before making it all the way to Hong Kong.
If Xenia finds its way into the nominations stage, it will be the first Greek movie to have made it since Yorgos Lanthimos' 2009 Un Certain Regard winner Dogtooth [+see also:
interview: Yorgos Lanthimos