Living in a small Greek port, 20-something Marina (Labed) is an outsider who fills her time watching the documentaries of Richard Attenborough and hanging out with her dying father. She finds the idea of physical contact repellent but then her live-wire friend (Randou) and the hunky Spyros prompt a change of tack. She's also close to her dying father, whom she talks to about imagining him naked "but without a penis". Other pastimes include the music of Suicide and the documentaries of David Attenborough. If she sounds like a kooky indie romcom cypher in the Zooey Deschanel mould, she's the exact opposite. Like the film around her, Marina is defiantly eccentric but also intelligent, sensitive and somehow rational.
Director Athina Rachel Tsangari served as associate producer on Dogtooth, so it’s no surprise to see the influence of Giorgos Lanthimos’ bleak satire extend beyond his cameo here. Minimalist, droll and poignant, it centres on naive Ariane Labed and her relationships with sexually experienced best friend Evangelia Randou, father Vangelis Mourikis and Lanthimos, the engineer she decides to seduce. Little happens but, targeting a society uneasy with such basic human acts as sex and death, Tsangari stages the action to parody the David Attenborough nature studies that Labed adores, and the shifts from intense conversation to enigmatic dance routines make for riveting viewing.
Tsangari proves she's one of the freshest voices in European cinema with this offbeat character piece. Recommended.