Solidly made, and with three good performances by its femme leads, “Dancing on Ice” is a far more involving story of illegal immigration than Greek helmer Stavros Ioannou’s first feature, “Roadblocks.” Drawing less on his documentary roots (though the pic is reportedly based on true stories), this yarn about three ethnically Greek women crossing from Bulgaria into northern Greece could skate into Euro cable slots if programmers haven’t had their fill of Balkan immigration pics.Ivana (Eleni Vergeti), a former skating champion raised in Sofia, decides she’s had enough of the country’s social and political chaos — the time is winter 1996 — and buys illegal passage from tough, Greek-speaking sleazebag Georgi (Mihali Iatropoulos). She’s joined by trashy Russian blonde Nadia (Arhontissa Mavrakaki), who’ll shag anyone to survive, and Romanian mother of two Marta (Maria Protopapa). The trek through the forested mountains is plagued by rotten weather and Georgi’s unwelcome sexual attentions, and becomes a strugle for physical survival. The tensions and slowly evolving comradeship among the women themselves are well drawn, though their backstories are thinly sketched and the pic ends abruptly on an unresolved note.
A Greek Film Center, ERT, Filmode presentation. (International sales: Greek Film Center, Athens.) Produced by Yorgos Ioannou. Directed, written by Stavros Ioannou.
Camera (color), Yorgos Mihelis; editor, Yorgos Didimiotis; music, Vangelis Katsoulis; art director, Thanos Begnis. Reviewed at Thessaloniki Film Festival (competing), Nov. 19, 2009. Original title: Horevontas ston pago. Greek, Bulgarian dialogue. Running time: 102 MIN.
Eleni Vergeti, Maria Protopapa, Arhontissa Mavrakaki, Mihali Iatropoulos, Haris Sozos, Maria Patsi, Chris Rotanov.
With: Eleni Vergeti, Maria Protopapa, Arhontissa Mavrakaki, Mihali Iatropoulos, Haris Sozos, Maria Patsi, Chris Rotanov.