A Greek-Romany family feels the sharp end of the Olympic javelin when they're forced from their home during the 2004 Athens games in U.S.-Greek docu "Garlic and Watermelons." Well-meaning but somewhat dull pic by debutant co-helmers Cameron Hickey and Lauren Feeney succeeds better at providing anthropological color than telling a story, but could add Greek flavor to further fests.

A Greek-Romany family feels the sharp end of the Olympic javelin when they’re forced from their home during the 2004 Athens games in U.S.-Greek docu “Garlic and Watermelons.” Well-meaning but somewhat dull pic by debutant co-helmers Cameron Hickey and Lauren Feeney succeeds better at providing anthropological color than telling a story, but could add Greek flavor to further fests.

Romany produce vender Prokopis Nikolaou and his family live in a rundown trailer on a central Athens lot, along with several other gypsy broods. Mayor Panayotis Tzanikos promises the Romany money and housing if they’ll move away so the site can be used for a parking lot during the Olympics, and Nikolaou and the others reluctantly agree to leave. However, when neither the money nor housing arrives from the city, Nikolaou calls in the media in an attempt to embarrass the mayor as the lavish games’ opening ceremony kicks off nearby — footage of which is intercut here. Picturesque shots of Nikolaou’s truck full of watermelons trolling for business on Athens’ streets contrast with squalor of the Romany’s living conditions, but Mayor Tzanikos, also interviewed, is not entirely unsympathetic. Tech credits are weak.

Garlic And Watermelons

U.S.-Greece

Production

A Pattern Film production. (International sales: Pattern Film, Chicago.) Produced by Lauren Feeney. Directed by Cameron Hickey, Lauren Feeney.

Crew

Camera (color, DigiBeta), Hickey; editor, Anne Barliant; music, Jonas Eno-Van Fleet, Dan Feeney. Reviewed at Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival (Stories to Tell), March 17, 2006. Greek dialogue. Running time: 65 MIN.

With

Prokopis Nikolaou, Panayotis Tzanikos.
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