Scene from Greek director Alexandros Avranas's film <i>Miss Violence</i>.

Scene from Greek director Alexandros Avranas's film Miss Violence.

Screens August 4, 11

At the beginning of Miss Violence, a Greek girl solemnly celebrates her 11th birthday with her family and then calmly leaps to her death from their apartment balcony. What follows, in a film that won Alexandros Avranas a Silver Lion for Best Director in Venice last September, is not an investigation as much as an initiation. Presided over by an unforgiving, controlling patriarch (Themis Panou), the three generations of family are deeply and terribly flawed, a situation calmly revealed by the watchful camera and worrying rituals that dominate their supposedly normal daily life; several devastating point-of-view shots sheet home the nightmarish reality. MIFF screenings are preceded by a verbal warning about scenes of sexual violence, and there is none of the deadpan humour or awkward scenarios that have marked the recent Greek New Wave. What Miss Violence shares with movies such as Alps is an implicit criticism of Greek society, with the unnamed clan representing a corrupted country – a visit by welfare officials more concerned with infrastructure than wellbeing suggests the bailout conditions of Greece’s northern European neighbours. The aesthetic is austere, the results powerful. What is a family without hope, asks Avranas? What is a country without hope?

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