Following the death of their mother, two brothers undertake an odyssey from Athens to Thessaloniki in search of the father they have never met, in this wry and affecting road movie from Greek director Panos Koutras.
In this joyous and thrilling tour de force
from director Panos H. Koutras (whose Real
Life was a highlight at the Festival in 2004),
two brothers traverse present-day Greece
in an attempt to find their father. The country's
stark economic realities serve as the
backdrop to this delightfully twisted tale,
which is filled to the brim with irreverent
and provocative ideas regarding such subjects
as homeland, familial bonds, and even
our notion of what constitutes the self.
After the death of his mother, sixteen-year-old Dany (Kostas Nikouli) leaves
Crete to find his older brother Odysseas
(Nikos Gelia), who now lives in Athens.
With Dany's pet rabbit in tow, the brothers
embark on an odyssey that will take them
from Athens to Thessaloniki in search of
their biological father, a Greek who never
married their Albanian mother. They
intend to persuade the old man, by pleading
or blackmail, to grant them some sort
of official recognition (and maybe some
money while he's at it) and finally put an
end to their stateless status. But the journey
has some surprises in store, as they find
themselves making arduous repairs to their
broken brotherly relationship, and having
some surprising encounters with people
and ghosts from the past.
Koutras's film is suffused with moments
of tenderness, wry humour, and revelations
great and small. Xenia — which is Greek for
"hospitality" (the title is not without irony)
— presents us with a sweeping yet precise
examination of a country that, like its two
young heroes, is in the thick of a difficult
transition, searching for a new identity and
new dreams for the future.