REVIEWS by Willard Manus

The recent 2002 Nortel Networks Palm Springs International Film Festival included three Greek films, two of which were worthy.

IN GOOD COMPANY, directed by Nikos Zapatinas, is a goofy road movie
about a criminal and a mental patient who have escaped their respective
institutions. Their attempted flight to freedom leads to a series of comic misadventures, all of them raunchy and scatological. This one is only for those who like their humor down and dirty.
RISOTTO, written and directed by Olga Malea, is a charming and pertinent comedy which looks at modern relationships from a female point of view. Fashion photographer Eugenia and stylist Vicky are successful but harried young Athenians desperately trying to juggle jobs, kids and husbands. Their husbands love them very much but work too hard and long to help out much at home (especially when it comes to changing diapers). In despair, the wives decide to move in together to share the load. This freaks out the men--especially when Eugenia and Vicky begin to become attracted to each other. The husbands resort to more and more desperate --and outrageous-- schemes to win their rebellious spouses back. The fast-paced and wise-cracking RISOTTO deconstructs patriarchy with style and humor.

UNDER THE STARS, written and directed by Christos Georgiou, is a small
but moving film about the Cyprus tragedy. Lukas, who was orphaned by
the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974, hires Phoebe, a street-smart
smuggler, to guide him over the Green Line and through Turkish-occupied
territory to visit his family's ruined and abandoned village. Past and present come to vivid life in this deftly written and directed feature which explores the pain and anger of history's victims, but never settles for mere propaganda or protest. Georgiou looks deeply into his characters and shows us the resilience and spirit that not even the insanity of war can crush.