Theatre clwyd Cinema Trip MISS VIOLENCE
Miss Violence starts with a birthday party in a neat and clinically austere Greek apartment. A family are celebrating the birthday of an eleven year old girl. There is cake and dancing and music, yet the whole scene doesn't feel quiet right, a sense of unreality which is repeated in the family's reaction when the birthday girl leaps to her death from the living room balcony.
This is obviously a dysfunctional family, and from the very start of Alexander Avranas's film, the audience is never quite sure just how each character is related . All we do know is that the grandfather ( Thermis Panou) rules the household with with a quiet and increasingly cruel control.
Very, very slowly we start to see the extent of his abuse as the two other adults in the apartment ( his wife and elder daughter) are helpless , if not implicit , in his subsequent abuse of the younger children.
It's a difficult and malevolent film, filmed almost secretly and in a dull olive hue through doors and corridors of a horridly faceless apartment.And not since Sergi Lopez's monster soldier Vidal in Pan's Labyrinth have I seen such loathsome character as Panou's grandfather. I really wanted to strangle the bastard every time he appeared on screen.
The film is coldly powerful and not an easy watch as Ayrana injects very little hope into the narrative. and I don't think it was a coincidence that the main character is a victim of the particularly drastic Greek recession..... The subtext of damage inflicted to the dysfunctional by austerity is loud and unfortunately all too clear.........
As I drove home..... I suddenly wished I had gone to see Helen Mirren in The 100 Foot Journey....sometimes being a fan of foreign movies does mean that you miss the froth and comfort of mainstream pap........hey ho