A Greek-Cypriot clandestinely revisits his hometown in the Turkish-held north of the island in “Under the Stars,” a look at the psychological scars remaining in Europe’s sole divided country. First feature by London-born Christos Georgiou makes use of a road movie format for this rare contempo look at the results of a now-forgotten war. Pic is only half-successful, with slim chances beyond the tube, but Georgiou shows a nascent talent.
Lukas (Akis Sakellariou) either mopes round his carpentry business in Nicosia or sits on the roof in an existential funk, looking over the divided city. Eventually, he pays Phoebe (Myrto Alikaki), a streetwise, cross-border smuggler, to take him into the north on her next trip so he can see again the seaside town in which he grew up — and from which he escaped as a child during the ’74 Turkish invasion. As the practical Phoebe, the feisty Alikaki almost single-handedly keeps the movie alive as she talks her way past border guards and friendly but curious locals. Sakellariou’s one-note playing of the simplistic, Turk-hating Lukas is a dramatic stumbling block. Location lensing is good; the fanciful ending, a disappointment.