There’s a new antonym for the word “thrilling” and it has only one letter: “L.” Novice helmer Babis Makridis has his new Greek cinema bona fides tied up, as his co-scripter, d.p., and lead thesp are all vets from a crop of recent Hellenic prizewinners, but “L” takes their trademark deadpan absurdism and steers it into a dead end. Searching for meaning in this fixed-camera tale of a car-dwelling oddball would be as pointless as expecting Britain to solve the Eurozone crisis, though doubtless some may try. Fest exposure will be limited, and even Parisian cinephiles might let this pass.A man (Aris Servetalis) lives in his car, occasionally visited by his wife (Nota Tserniafski) and two kids. His job is to pick up one jar of honey and deliver it to a narcoleptic employer (Yannis Bostantzoglou), but tardiness results in his being fired. His tiny world crumbles and he wrecks his car, but is saved by motorcyclists who bring him into their fold. Dialogue is even more nonsensical than the plot, and perfs are uniformly expressionless. “L” connotes the learner’s permit on a new license; ’nuff said.
A Beben Films, Nova, Feelgood Entertainment, Faliro House Prods., Top Cut, Modiano S.A. production, in association with Warp Films. (International sales: Beben Films, Athens.) Produced by Amanda Livanou, Babis Makridis. Coproducers, Dennis Iliadis, Efthimis Filippou, Yannis Chalkiadakis, Thimios Bakatakis, Yorgos Papadimitriou, Dimitri Papathomas. Executive producers, Peter Carlton, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos. Directed by Babis Makridis. Screenplay, Efthimis Filippou, Makridis, based on an original idea by Yorgos Giokas.
Camera (color), Thimios Bakatakis; editor, Yannis Chalkiadakis; music, Coti K; production designer, Dafni Kalogianni; costume designer, Dimitri Papathomas. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (competing), Feb. 2, 2012. (Also in Sundance Film Festival -- World Cinema, competing.) Running time: 87 MIN.
Aris Servetalis, Makis Papadimitriou, Eleftherios Matthaios, Nota Tserniafski, Stvros Raptis, Thanassis Dimou, Christoforos Skamnakis, Yannis Bostantzoglou.