×

Hardcore

Teenage hookers meet, fall in love and search for the rainbow in monster mash of raw ingredients held together by a confident sense of overall tone and compulsive perfs by leads Katerina Tsavalou and newcomer Danai Skiadi. Already sold to several Euro territories, plus Strand in the U.S., pic could benefit from exposure at name fests.

With:
With: Katerina Tsavalou, Danai Skiadi, Ioannis Papazisis, Omiros Poulakis, Andreas Marianos, Dimitris Liolios, Konstantinos Avarikiotis, Yannis Stankoglou, Antonis Peratikos, Stelios Hristoforidis, Yannis Stefopoulos, Vyzantia Guy.

Two teenage hookers meet, fall in love and search for the rainbow in “Hardcore,” a monster mash of raw ingredients held together by a confident sense of overall tone and compulsively watchable perfs by leads Katerina Tsavalou and newcomer Danai Skiadi. Impressive feature debut by writer-director Dennis Iliadis has enough tease to attract the curious but at heart is a touching, urban fairytale of love and betrayal that just happens to be set in seedy surroundings. Already sold to several Euro territories, plus Strand in the U.S., pic could further benefit from exposure at name fests.

On local release in March, film scored some 45,000 admissions — good for Greece, though not a major success like the recent “A Touch of Spice” and “Brides.”

Script is freely based on the razzle-dazzle novel by Aleka Laskou (a pseudonym for two female writers), published in 2000. With its flashy main title, over scratch footage from a hardcore movie, pic initially looks like it too is going to be a roller-coaster ride through Athens’ sexual underbelly.

But from the opening scenes, as Martha (Tsavalou) recalls how she first met Nadia (Skiadi) — a nod to the novel’s first-person narrative — it’s clear that this is a picture with more than just sex on its brain. Title refers not so much to the setting but to the tough inner core of its denizens, and the girls’ lesbian relationship is portrayed so off-handedly that it seems completely natural in the circumstances.

At only 17, with a glazed, drug-fueled passivity and masochistic enjoyment of paid sex, Martha is already close to burn-out at the prostitution agency run with patriarchal efficiency by Manos (Andreas Marianos). Nadia enters the circle of baby-faced hookers and working guys. Nadia, 16 and with attitude to spare, wants to be famous. For her, unlike Martha, the job is only a pit stop.

Initially jealous of Nadia’s “youth” and self-assurance — which includes making out with the studly Argyris (Ioannis Papazisis), a colleague Martha has eyes for — Martha is soon seduced by her ambitious junior. “For the first time, it felt like fluffy clouds,” recalls Martha, after their first lovemaking.

Nadia proposes they rent an apartment and live together. But she warns Martha “we need to speed things up … it’s going to get rougher.” As her relationship with Argyris spins out of control, and Martha also gets entangled with his friend, Miltos (Omiros Poulakis), things eventually turn bloody. But it’s only later, when Nadia does indeed become famous, that Martha starts to seriously question their relationship.

Pic strays too heavily into pulp-genre territory in the drugs-‘n’-guns second act but is held steady by Tsavalou’s terrific playing of Martha, as a kind of bruised, fairytale princess. Utterly convincing both physically and emotionally, the 25-year-old actress has an easy chemistry with Skiadi, who’s equally good in the showier role of the gamine Nadia. Other casting is on the nose, with Marianos bringing solid experience to the part of Manos.

Elli Papageorgakopoulou’s colorfully trashy production design and little-girl outfits are complemented by Thymios Bakandakis’ saturated, neon-flavored lensing. Film’s nudity is totally natural and the sex scenes, though raw, are visually discreet.

Hardcore

Greece

Production: An Odeon (in Greece)/Strand Releasing (in U.S.) release of a Zaza Entertainment presentation of an Odeon, Zaza Entertainment, Ideefixe, FilmNet, Greek Film Centre production. (International sales: Greek Film Centre, Athens.) Produced by Dennis Iliadis, Iraklis Mavroidis. Directed, written by Dennis Iliadis, based on the novel by Aleka Laskou.

Crew: Camera (Fujicolor), Thymios Bakandakis; editor, Yorgos Mavropsaridis; music, One Finger Music; production-costume designer, Elli Papageorgakopoulou; make-up, Sofia Katsarou; sound (Dolby Digital), Stefanos Efthymiou, Yorgos Mikroyannakis. Reviewed at Thessaloniki Film Festival (Greek Films 2004), Nov. 24, 2004. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Katerina Tsavalou, Danai Skiadi, Ioannis Papazisis, Omiros Poulakis, Andreas Marianos, Dimitris Liolios, Konstantinos Avarikiotis, Yannis Stankoglou, Antonis Peratikos, Stelios Hristoforidis, Yannis Stefopoulos, Vyzantia Guy.

More Film

  • Mid 90s

    Jonah Hill's 'mid90s,' Pauline Kael Documentary to Screen in Berlin's Panorama Section

    Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, “mid90s,” about a 13-year-old skateboarder’s coming of age, and a documentary on influential film critic Pauline Kael are among the works that will screen in the Panorama section of the upcoming Berlin Film Festival. Films starring Tilda Swinton and Jamie Bell and titles from countries including Israel, Brazil and Japan were [...]

  • 'Your Name' Director Makoto Shinkai Readies

    ‘Your Name' Director Makoto Shinkai Readies 'Weathering'

    Three years after the animation “Your Name” began its long triumphant reign over the Japanese and international box office, its director Makoto Shinkai has announced his next animated feature. Titled “Weathering With You,” the film will arrive in theaters in Japan on July 19 of next year, with Toho distributing. Set in a world where [...]

  • Berlin: The Match Factory Boards New

    Berlin: The Match Factory Boards Competition Titles From Fatih Akin, Emin Alper (EXCLUSIVE)

    German indie powerhouse The Match Factory will handle world sales on two Berlin Film Festival competition titles: German director Fatih Akin’s serial-killer chiller “The Golden Glove” and Turkish director Emin Alper’s family drama “A Tale of Three Sisters.”  Akin, a Hamburg native whose “Head-On” won the Golden Bear in 2004, is returning to the Berlinale [...]

  • First-Look Image Revealed for ‘Monday,’ Starring

    First-Look Image Revealed for ‘Monday,’ Starring ‘Captain America’s’ Sebastian Stan

    The first-look image from Greek director Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ “Monday,” starring Sebastian Stan – best known for “I, Tonya” and the “Captain America” movies – and “Colette’s” Denise Gough, has been released. Protagonist Pictures will launch international sales on the pic in Berlin. “Monday” follows the story of Mickey (Stan) and Chloe (Gough), two Americans in [...]

  • The Wedding

    Film Review: 'The Wedding'

    Two considerations need to exist side by side when discussing “The Wedding,” the debut feature of Egyptian-American multihyphenate Sam Abbas. One involves the film itself, a dull slice of Lower Manhattan mumblecore about a heterosexual New York couple fitfully planning their wedding until she discovers his gay dalliance. The other, getting the lion’s share of [...]

  • The Best Gifts For Film Buffs

    Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Gifts For Film Buffs

    Whether you know a film buff who needs to upgrade their collection, or you just want to upgrade your movie nights at home, here are eight gifts that will cast your favorite flicks in a whole new light. 1. Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema: The Criterion Collection Thirty-nine films from the legendary Swedish filmmaker are collected in [...]

  • Ansel Elgort The Great High School

    Film News Roundup: Ansel Elgort to Star in 'The Great High School Imposter'

    In today’s film news roundup, Ansel Elgort is going to high school, “Rockaway” gets a release, and “Suspiria” producer Bradley Fischer is honored. CASTING Ansel Elgort has come aboard to star in the drama “The Great High School Imposter” for Participant Media and Condé Nast Entertainment. The project is based on a Daniel Riley GQ [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content