×
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

  • Shailene Woodley probation Dakota Pipeline protest

    Cannes: Infotainment China Media Snaps Up "Misanthrope"

    Chinese sales and distribution company Infotainment China Media has bought the China rights to “Misanthrope,” the new serial killer thriller starring Shailene Woodley, from FilmNation Entertainment at Cannes. Woodley (“Big Little Lies”, the “Divergent” franchise”) will play a cop recruited by the FBI to hunt down a murderer. Damian Szifron (“Wild Tales”) and Jonathan Wakeham [...]

  • Watch Karen O & Danger Mouse’s

    Watch Karen O & Danger Mouse’s ‘Encounter With Lux Prima’ Documentary (EXCLUSIVE)

    Karen O & Danger Mouse’s “Lux Prima” is one of the year’s best albums so far — but it’s more than an album. “An Encounter with Lux Prima – The Art of Collaboration,” a short documentary chronicling the 18-month development of their multisensory art installation “An Encounter With Lux Prima” premieres today exclusively on Variety. [...]

  • Willem Dafoe Talks 'The Lighthouse' and

    Willem Dafoe on His New Films 'The Lighthouse' and 'Tommaso,' Robert Pattinson as Batman

    Willem Dafoe has spent the last two awards seasons on the campaign trail. The actor earned back-to-back Oscar nominations for his work in 2017’s “The Florida Project” and for last year’s “At Eternity’s Gate.” And if the critical reaction to “The Lighthouse” is any indication, he’ll be back on it soon. “The Lighthouse” is director [...]

  • Official First Look at the Women

    'Terminator: Dark Fate': Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger Return in First Trailer

    The Resistance’s war against Skynet rages on with the sixth installment of the “Terminator” series, “Terminator: Dark Fate.” The first trailer for the latest movie dropped on Thursday. The clip opens with two franchise newcomers, Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes, as they’re being pursued by a Terminator (Gabriel Luna), one that seems to have some [...]

  • Malcom McLaren’s Son Joe Corré Preps

    Malcom McLaren’s Son Joe Corré Preps ‘Wake Up Punk’ Feature Doc (EXCLUSIVE)

    Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s son Joe Corré has voiced his opposition to a Sex Pistols feature film in the works, and is about to launch his own project, “Wake Up Punk.” The feature documentary will follow events after his decision to burn punk memorabilia worth millions of pounds. John Lydon has already tweeted that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content