×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' to Soar Above Box Office Competition Over Memorial Day Weekend

    When Disney first released “Aladdin” in 1992, Bill Clinton was just settling in to the Oval Office, “Game of Thrones” wasn’t much more than a book idea percolating in the mind of author George R.R. Martin, and Johnny Carson was wrapping up his stint as “Tonight Show” host. In some ways, 2019 feels like a [...]

  • Daniel Dae Kim Hellboy

    Cannes: Daniel Dae Kim Joins Joe Penna’s Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Stowaway’

    Daniel Dae Kim, best known recently for ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” will join Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette in Joe Penna’s sci-fi thriller “Stowaway.” The movie marks the second feature from Penna and Ryan Morrison, the duo behind the Cannes Official Selection film “Arctic,” which released earlier this year. XYZ Films and CAA Media Finance [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Karim Ainouz on Cannes Un Certain Regard's ‘The Invisible Life’

    CANNES  —  Karim Aïnouz’s “The Invisible Life” begins with two  sisters, not much over 20, Eurídice (Carol Duarte) and Guida (Julia Stockler) sitting by the shore of one of the multiple bays around Rio de Janeiro, a lush tropical forest behind. They have all their life in front of them. Guida suddenly dashes off clambering [...]

  • Cannes: Neon, Hulu Acquire 'Portrait of

    Cannes: Neon, Hulu Acquire Celine Sciamma’s 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'

    Neon and Hulu have acquired North American rights to Céline Sciamma’s love story “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” which premiered in competition at Cannes. Neon is planning a theatrical release for the film this year, which will include an awards campaign in all categories. The film is set in Brittany, France in 1770. Marianne [...]

  • Brightburn review

    Film Review: 'Brightburn'

    “Superman” meets “The Omen” in “Brightburn,” a watchable but super-silly mix of superheroics and evil-child horror that mashes together singularly uninspired ideas from both. Offering R-rated fantasy competition to “Aladdin” this Memorial Day weekend, it should do OK with undiscriminating audiences seeking familiar, forgettable genre thrills. But the franchise prayers that an open-ended fadeout dangles [...]

  • Aladdin

    Film Review: Will Smith in 'Aladdin'

    Of all the characters in Walt Disney Studios’ canon, is there any more animated than the Genie from “Aladdin”? In 1992, old-school cartooning seemed the only way to keep up with comedian Robin Williams’ rapid-fire sense of humor and free-associative gift for improvisation. Much of the appeal of the original “Aladdin” came thanks to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content