STO LYKO (To the Wolf)

There's something unsettlingly disconcerting about the feature debut of the Anglo-Greek filmmaking duo of Christina Koutsospyrou and Aran Hughes. Technically a documentary about the hardships of shepherds living in the remote Nafpaktia mountains of Greece, To the Wolf is in fact a mood-setting assemblage of documentary footage into a loose fictional narrative, weaving the lives of struggle and poverty of two families into the larger drama of a contemporary Greek society that found itself impoverished when the recession hit badly.

      Built out of long takes that give it a stately, almost comically overwrought weight, the film conveys well the sense of despair and pointlessness present in a lifestyle that is even more endangered after the crisis hit. The dark, greyish, foggy landscapes create a sort of apocalyptic tone underlined by the dry, sullen wit of its characters, dovetailing neatly with the current "new wave" of Greek cinema and its resolutely opaque, absurdist sensibility.

     That sensibility is, for better or worse, mirrored in this intriguing if not entirely successful debut, concerned less with content than with form and, in the process, raising interesting (though possibly not entirely required) questions about the strengths and weaknesses, the limits and definitions of documentary filmmaking. To the Wolf is the record of a "likely" or "possible" reality rather than of "actual" reality. Which is more "truthful"? Ms. Koutsospyrous and Mr. Hughes let their viewers figure it out.

Directors, cameramen and editors: Aran Hughes, Christina Koutsospyrou
Producers: Julien Mata, Alice Baldo, Mr. Hughes, Ms. Koutsospyrou, Theo Prodromidis (French Kiss Production, Linel Films)
France/Greece/United Kingdom, 2012, 74 minutes

Screened: DocLisboa 2013 official competition advance screener, Lisbon, October 23rd 2013

Sto Lyko (To the Wolf) - TRAILER from LINEL FILMS on Vimeo.


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