#Feature: It’s all Greek to Me – Scannain becomes Ταινία

Greek national cinema is poised at an interesting juncture, looking forward to escaping the yoke of austerity and finding its voice in the world. Now is the perfect time for us to take our focus away from Ireland and shine it on the home of democracy.

Compared to their Mediterranean neighbours, Greek cinema has not fared as well on the international stage, with only two Greek films, Missing (1982) and Eternity and a Day (1998), having won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and just five Greek films having received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The perception is changing in recent years with Yorgos Lanthimos’s Dogtooth (2009) and Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Attenberg (2010) winning international acclaim. The former won the Prix Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival, with the latter winning the Coppa Volpi Award for Best Actress (Ariane Labed) at the Venice Film Festival.

Progress has been slow however, with only 25 feature films being produced in 2011. That number is increasing year on year, but Greece still has a ways to go to enjoy output like Italy or Turkey. The lack of historic state support has placed Greek cinema in a position further back in terms of experience, but has left a feisty almost anarchic industry that is now tooled up in the digital age.

As well as the international star directors named above the industry also boasts considerable talent in the shape of Yannis Economides, Panos H. Koutras, Nikos Grammatikos, Alexander Voulgaris, Constantine Giannaris and Argyris Papadimitropoulos.

Seek out a Greek film if you can, we recommend Xenia by Panos H. Koutras. Dany and Ody journey across the wonderland of 21st Century Greece in a quest to find their last living family member – the “unmentionable” father who abandoned them 13 years before. In this hyperreal odyssey the brothers many adventures climax at gunpoint during the Greek X-Factor auditions as they reconnect with one another and attempt to find a sense of belonging in a country that refuses to accept them.

Welcome to Ταινία! Καλή τύχη!