The Limousine proves a fitting vehicle for Panayotopoulos
- One of the country’s most prolific directors rides The Limousine back to his student days in his most uplifting film in years.
“I went into film loving pictures, but I might get out of it hating them,” Nicos Panayotopoulos said on Friday night at the Athens International Film Festival, where he presented his 16th feature in a 39-year long career, as a film that’s meant to be listened to, more than looked at. And indeed, his “comedy of misunderstandings” is a rather vociferous work.
Inspired by a set of memoirs a friend mailed him a few years back, The Limousine was a source of rejuvenation for a director who has been estranged by audiences by marring himself into a self-absorbed state of film-making. This new work of his, is easily his most enjoyable in years.
Theatre, religion, philosophy, literature, they’ve all been a thematic buffet from which Panayotopoulos has nibbled inspiration throughout his long career, but never has he used them with such light-heartedness, as he does here, setting up a series of vignettes that spread out like a less self-conscious version of Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes.
Though filmed entirely in Greece, half the film takes place in a Parisian bistro, where Nikos Kouris plays a Greek student who casually converses with Samuel Beckett (Dimitris Katalifos) and his friends. He there meets a beautiful French girl, played by stunning TV persona Doukissa Nomikou, who informs him that girls from Limoges are called limousines – hence the film’s title.
The two of them, along with a mutual friend (Adrian Frieling), embark on a road-trip to Greece, where Panayotopoulos relishes the chance to wipe the eternal Greek sunshine off his frames and cloak his film in autumnal greys, that help infuse a noirish charm to both the urban Athenian scenery, as well as the wild nature of Mani. A transformation that befits a film whose filmmaker shows a new face.
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