Review: Park (2016)


Directed by: Sofia Exarchou | 100 minutes | drama | Actors: Dimitris Kitsos, Dimitra Vlagopoulou, Thomas Bo Larsen, Enuki Gvenatadze, Lena Kitsopoulou, Yorgos Pandeleakis, Teo Angelov, Savvas Bakachashvili, Minella Balli, Adrian Frieling, Julio Katsis, Yorgos Monastiriotis, Don Nielsen, Panagiotis Papadopilber, Ian Rabson, Robertson , David Szymczak, Goga Tsiklauri, Mario Tzutti, Nikos Zeginoglou

The Olympic Park in Athens, ten years after the Games. A group of young people, children actually still, wander around bored. They fight with each other, flirt with girls and play with the countless street dogs. There are no adults, the children are the boss. They are in constant struggle for survival. Whoever wins takes part. Whoever loses starts again at the bottom of the hierarchical ladder. The line between their childishness and almost limitless ruthlessness is thin. The arid landscape of the park also symbolizes the desolation of their existence. God has left the site for good.

However, the dilapidated park is home to Dimitris and his brother. Away from their alcoholic mother. Away from the belittling job at a marble company. And away from the ever-partying tourists, with their hedonistic and trivial lives. Still, the hopelessness is starting to take its toll. Surely there must be more to life than this endless hanging around. Although Dimitris is pushed to the limit at work – ten others for him – it does pay off. In order to give girlfriend Anna a better life, he hopes to find a new future elsewhere. But escaping this life seems like an impossible task. His pent-up anger slowly seeks an outlet.

“Park” shows a pitch-black picture of the Greek crisis. Men are foolish fighters. Women are, in the eyes of their other half, just an object of use, no better than the average stray dog. There is no room for genuine love. The chance of better work, if there is work at all, remains minimal. Adults are invisible, the youth are left to their own devices. The West is literally looking away, drenched in copious amounts of alcohol.

Small moments of happiness should provide balance. But because “Park” mainly observes and the real drama as a result remains at a distance, the melancholy predominates.
Moreover, this observational character leaves little room for character development. The adventures of the characters do not involve much, they do not seem to learn from them at all. Life continues on the same footing. The hopelessness remains the only winner.

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