Los Angeles Greek Film Festival
Review by Willard Manus

The thirteenth annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival kicked off June 3 with a showing of THE RIGHT POCKET OF THE ROBE, a highlyunusual feature film about monastery life in Greece. Thodoros Antoniadis stars as the last monk left in a Greek Orthodox sanctuary which sits on a hillside overlooking the Aegean Sea. Death has taken the older monks, including his spiritual mentor; modern life has claimed the interest of the younger priests. Left alone, the monk attends to the upkeep of the monastery, performs certain religious duties (such as the blessing of the parishioners’ bread), does a little farming, thinks back on his youth. The solitary nature of his spiritual life takes its toll on him; he feels himself drying up, becoming withdrawn and barren. What saves him from a possible breakdown is the gift of a small dog. He forms a bond with the animal which proves his salvation. THE RIGHT POCKET OF THE ROBE is really a love story. The monk’s deep feelings for this scruffy mutt are not only touching but profound, a reminder that even the emptiest of lives can be redeemed by something as simple as love for another living creature.
Yiannis Lapatas’ direction of Stella Vasilantonaki’s screenplay was sensitive and praiseworthy, if only because it’s his first feature film.

The festival also includes such highlights as MELTEM, a story dealing with the immigrant crisis in Greece, and KAZANTZAKIS, a Greek/French bio-drama about the great writer Nikos Kazantzakis, author of “Zorba the Greek” and many other classics.

For tickets and information visit lagff.org