RKS 2023 Film: Vancouver Greek Film Festival: “Magnetic Fields”

The second annual Vancouver Greek Film Festival (VGFF) runs from 1-4 June 2023. It presents an eclectic offering of contemporary and classic Greek cinema. This year the Festival kicks off a calendar of events organized by The Hellenic Canadian Congress of British Columbia during Greek Heritage Month which culminates in “Greek Day on Broadway” one of Vancouver’s most famous street festivals on June 25th.

Greek film has made great strides in the last two decades emerging from slapstick comedy to films dealing with contemporary social issues not afraid to take aim at Greek politics, religion and governmental bureaucracy.

Christos Dikeakos a visual artist and co-founder of the VGFF states, “The programme presents a myriad of stories and experiences about the human condition, offering insight into the minds of Greek filmmakers that is at once intimate and universal.”

The 2021 film “Magnetic Fields” is a 78-minute film directed by Yorgos Goussis.

Antonis (Antonis Tsiotsiopoulos) and Elena (Elena Topalidou) meet on a ferry in Greece heading to a coastal destination. Antonis has car problems as he leaves the ferry and Elena gives him a lift into the main town. Antonis is a big bear of a man with a beard and his red beanie. Elena, mostly hiding behind sunglasses, is a bit quirky full of odd philosophical reflections.

Antonis is single and a man who fears the burdens of love and for him it poses the danger of rejection. Elena is more of the moment person yakking about love in a grand fashion but is miserable and out of love and full of self loathing.

A deep philosophical drama? Perhaps but a huge comedic element as Antonis has a silver box containing the remains of his distant aunt he really knows nothing about but wanted to be buried at the destination where Antonis and Elena arrived. They tour the island looking to bury Auntie’s remains. A huge dramatic argument ensues at the church’s cemetery between church officials and Antonis which is so beautifully Greek it is to be savoured. Half acting and half sincerity! As Auntie was not a citizen of the municipality nor had been a donor to the church she can’t be buried where she had wished. Poor Auntie dies a second death. A horribly violent death a la “Thelma and Louise”.

In the search for an appropriate burial site for Auntie, Elena and Antonis bond platonically or sexually? Your choice on that.

Elena is a lost soul. Uncertain of herself and full of self loathing she deteriorates before your eyes looking haggard and increasingly miserable with her career as a dancer and her stature as a human being. Antonis has been wounded by love. Elena has fallen out of love. Will they connect? Or is life full of misery? Aristotle any thoughts on this?

A love story? A comedy? A satirical look at artsy films? Sexual tension pitted against a philosophical view of love?

At times some remarkable cinematography with some retro blurriness particularly the washed-out road scene. Has the Greek Orthodox church lost realistic connections with its parishioners?

Viewers can take away several interpretations of the film but being somewhat immersed in the Greek diaspora and current Greek society this film is a treasure trove of subtleties!

The film won five Hellenic Film Academy Awards in 2022.

Directed by Yorgos Goussis.

You can see the trailer here https://vimeo.com/643840524

The film can be seen on 3June in Vancouver at the Cinematheque.

RKS 2023 Film Rating 91/100.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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