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June 19, 2014 3:46 pm
The Greek child-abuse drama Miss Violence took two baffling top awards at the Venice Film Festival. Best Director went to Alexandros Avranas, who also co-wrote the pruriently contrived plot. Themis Panou won Best Actor for playing the patriarch who seduces and pimps his own granddaughters. One girl begins the movie by throwing herself off a balcony. It gets murkier from then on.
Avranas fashions a cruelty-begins-at-home melodrama of a kind possibly made modish in Greece by the (far better) art hit Dogtooth. The single suicide apart, Panou’s Grandad has evidently encountered little protest from his moppets beyond mild frowns as each is asked, on reaching puberty, to start turning tricks. One sequence is the chain-rape of a freshly recruited granddaughter, with Gramps paying €30 to join in the jollies. Grandma has remained inexplicably silent over the years until – no more explicably – she decides to blow the whistle. Perhaps the Venice judges saw in the story an allegory of Greece in crisis, ravished by corrupt and corrupting elders. Nothing else can quite account for the gaga handout of gongs.
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