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Review: Wasted Youth (2011)

Directed by: , | 98 minutes | | Actors: , , , , , , , , , , Themis Bazaka,

“Wasted Youth” follows the one-day lives of 16-year-old Harris and older father Vasilis. The lives of the two are very different. Vasilis is a responsible man and lacks the courage to take risks. He suffers from all kinds of frustrations, such as a daughter who is rebellious and colleagues who make fun of him. The brash Harris, on the other hand, gets what is in it from life. He’s only into skating, girls and hanging out with friends. His father has to point out that he has not visited his sick mother in days. On the other hand, the young man is easily forgiven and everyone runs away with him.

Only in the last scene do the storylines come together. As a viewer, you irrevocably start comparing through the parallel stories and you begin to wonder which of the two main characters now has or has had a lost childhood. Is Vasilis’s life a result of his licentious past? Or should he have enjoyed life a little more in the past, as Harris does now? Or is it Harris who is allowed to do more with his life than just skating and partying? As a viewer, you know that the different storylines must eventually come together. It is a given that occupies you throughout the film. On the one hand, that creates tension, certainly at the end of the film. On the other hand, during the film you sometimes wonder where the story is going and what the point of the storyteller is.

Directors Argyris and Jan Vogel said in a statement that viewers may think that ‘Wasted Youth’ is a true story based on the run-up to the riots in Athens in December 2008. They do not, however, although they do have a wanted to make a highly committed film. With the film the makers wanted to give an impression of the exasperated state of the contemporary Athenian mentality: frustrated, tired, confused, scared and angry. “The film had to be made, now or never,” said the makers. While the lack of a clear-cut story is disturbing at times, “Wasted Youth” is a well-shot film. The images continue to fascinate and “Wasted Youth” also becomes more and more exciting as the end approaches, without there seems to be any immediate reason to do so. Definitely worth a look.

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