The Hellenic Film Society USA continues with its Greek Films on Demand programme where for the first ten days of the month two Greek films are available for streaming at a nominal cost.
One of the April films “Holy Boom” is a 2018 production that weaves together ethnic and intergenerational conflicts facing Greece.
On Palm Sunday three teens place a mini dynamite stick in a mailbox charring its contents and fundamentally changing and, in some cases, failing to change lives. The result going fast forward is a series of tragedies. Boyish prank that spirals in ways the little hoodlums could never expect?
What is significant is that Albanians, Filipinos and Africans are involved as characters in the film. I was in Greece in 1971, 1972 and 1973 where Greece was a more of less a mono-ethnic society. I returned in 2000 to Athens and I could scarcely believe the different ethnic groups. What a massive change in 30 years!
Let me briefly set the stage for what you are going to see without giving away the plot.
Adia (Luli Bitri) is an illegal Albanian immigrant who was waiting for a birth certificate to make her a legal immigrant but that is destroyed in the mailbox explosion. Her husband is killed in a traffic accident but going to the hospital is risky and the body can only be seen and identified by a person with identification. Adia is the personification of what being an illegal does to one’s life. It is a hard life and full of fear of being rounded up and deported.
Manu (Samuel Akinola) is an African living with Lena (Anastasia Rafaela Konidi) a young Greek musician. Manu had some LSD tabs in that mailbox that were charred a bit but all the contents of the mailbox are in the custody of the post office. The mob had advanced him money to get the drugs and now he has no merchandise so he is in a for a very rough ride.
Adia, Manu and Lena live in the same apartment complex and is watched “Rear Widow” style by an elderly spinster Thalia (Nena Menti). Initially Thalia detests Albanians, Africans and all immigrants for that matter. She represents Greece of the past. But her forced involvement with Manu and Adia transforms her ethnic hatred into acceptance of the New Greece. A very important document may not reach her and it is a massively important one.
One of the bombers Ige (Spyros Ballesteros) is a nasty piece of work and add on to his bombing he sexually assaults a classmate infuriating her boyfriend. For Ige justice is served on a huge platter.
As it is after Saturday mass and Sunday is Easter fireworks explode to celebrate Easter and tragedy explodes all around.
Very well acted with a shout out to brilliant performances by Menti and Bitri. The film was nominated for two Hellenic Film Academy Awards. Directed by Maria Lafi. You can see the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuOAvgL4sLA
To order the film in the April 1-10 window go to https://hellenicfilmusa.org/past-events/2021-on-demand
RKS Film Rating 92/100.