Standing Aside, Watching (SIFF 2014)

This film is set in Greece in the aftermath of the global economic meltdown, and every character seems to be in a bad place. There is almost nothing they can do to help themselves, let alone help each other. The landscape is more desolate than beautiful, and I was struck by the emptiness of the still shots around the town. Despite the crushing desperation surrounding them, there are glimmers of hope that break through, and a fierce resolve to keep trying and keep moving forward.

Provided Film Synopsis
A train passes through the desolation of an economically ravaged modern Greece and stops, ever-so-briefly, at a remote, unnamed city that sits in the shadows of a scorched mountain almost post-apocalyptic in its barrenness. Failed Athens actress Antigone (Marina Symeou) has returned home, and whatever she was looking for in the big city has eluded her. After reestablishing contact with her father, Antigone quickly manages to find a tutoring job as well as a boyfriend, Nikos (Yorgos Kafetzopoulos), several years her junior. Nikos, a sweet town-boy, works for junkyard owner Nondas (Nikos Yorgakis), a boorish, manipulative parolee who also happens to be conducting an emotionally and physically abusive affair with Antigone’s attractive childhood friend Eleni (Marianthi Pantelopoulou). A determined Antigone, recognizing the lawlessness and brutal misogyny of a city in crisis, refuses to become a passive witness to her tyrannical surroundings, and as the violence escalates, so does her resolve. Drawing equally upon American Western aesthetics and the Greek tragedy obvious from the protagonist’s Sophoclean name, with a score that evokes the female-driven revenge dramas of the 1970s, Standing Aside, Watching is an austere, intense domestic thriller about a land torn apart by corruption and anxiety. A storm is coming.

Movie Details

  • Directed By:

    • Yorgos Servetas
  • Cast Members:

    • Kostis Siradakis
    • Marianthi Pantelopoulou
    • Marina Symeou
    • Nikos Yorgakis
    • Yorgos Kafetzopoulos
  • Countries:

    • Greece
  • Languages:

    • Greek
  • Genres:

    • Drama
    • Political
    • Social Issues