Friday, May 27, 2016
An inspired, gorgeously photographed work of deadpan lunacy.
An expertly executed tease.
[An] intriguing and thoroughly original character study.
Subverts gender stereotypes from the get-go.
Six men set out on the Aegean Sea aboard a yacht, and before long, male bonding and one-upmanship give way to a loosely defined yet hotly contested competition to determine which of them is “the best in general.” As the games and trials grow more elaborate and absurd—everything is up for judgment, from sleeping positions to cholesterol levels to furniture-assembly skills—insecurities emerge and power relations shift. As in her breakthrough Attenberg (New Directors/New Films 2011), Athina Rachel Tsangari balances anthropological precision with a wry and wholly original sense of humor. Impeccably staged, crisply photographed, and buoyed by eclectic soundtrack choices (Petula Clark, Mark Lanegan), this maritime psychodrama becomes both funnier and richer in its implications as it progresses. What begins as a lampoon of bourgeois machismo and male anxiety develops into an incisive allegory for the state of contemporary Greece, and leaves a final impression as an empathetic, razor-sharp study of human nature itself. An NYFF53 selection. A Strand Releasing release.
Athina Rachel Tsangari was our 2015 Filmmaker in Residence, an annual program created by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Jaeger-LeCoultre that supports filmmakers at an early stage in the creative process.