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Luton: a cryptic introduction to fresh talent


- Michalis Konstantatos’ feature debut packed its Athens fest screening just a few hours after is San Sebastian world premiere.

Luton: a cryptic introduction to fresh talent

Having screened at San Sebastian’s New Directors section a couple of days earlier, Michalis Konstantatos’ feature debut Luton [+see also:
film profile
had its national premiere at the Athens International Film Festival on Friday, the over-packed theatre a clear indication of the public’s eagerness to support fresh talent with international appeal.

Starting off with its characters at the edge of its mainly static frames, as if waiting for them to do something that will warrant them to come front and center, Konstantatos’ film seems to follow all the rules, set down by frontrunners of what’s come to be known as Greece’s Weird Wave.

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Long, unrelenting shots follow the empty nothingness of his characters’ everyday lives, dialogue is kept to a minimum, and a milky-white mist looms over his frames, as the director gradually introduces you to his trio of heroes: a lonely lawyer longing to be touched – emotionally, rather than physically; a middle-aged shop-owner frustrated with the dullness of both his workplace and familial surroundings; a teenager stifled by the stiffness of his estranged, bourgeois parents.

Vignette scenes stand out as the director displays his thematic oeuvre of harrowing looks at moments of intimacy (a teenage make-out session, a moment of self-satisfaction, a birthday shag), but the film marches on with Konstantatos seemingly trying to get familiar with feature-length cinematic time, in what feels like an exercise in style and filmic language.

Character connections are revealed in a shock-and-awe session at the film’s last few minutes and everything makes chilling sense, yet the viewer is left longing for more to chew on, after being introduced to a new director with an engaging viewpoint.

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