Greek di­rec­tor’s ‘Che­va­lier’ wins best film award at Lon­don fes­ti­val

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

Greek di­rec­tor Athina Rachel Tsan­gari’s “Che­va­lier,” a bat­tle of male egos that takes place on board a lux­ury yacht in the Aegean Sea, has won the top prize at the 59th Bri­tish Film In­sti­tute’s Lon­don Film Fes­ti­val Awards.

The film, an ab­sur­dist char­ac­ter study from the maker of the 2010’s “At­ten­berg,” tells the story of six men who, stuck on a bro­ken-down ves­sel, em­bark on a game to de­cide who is “the best in every­thing.” The win­ner is to re­ceive a ring, the Che­va­lier of the ti­tle.

An­nounc­ing the best film prize at the Ban­quet­ing House in White­hall on Satur­day, the pres­i­dent of the fes­ti­val jury, Pol­ish di­rec­tor Pawel Paw­likowski, whose “Ida” won last year’s com­pe­ti­tion, de­scribed the movie as a “study of male an­tag­o­nism seen through the eyes of a brave and orig­i­nal film­maker.”

“With great for­mal rigor and ir­re­sistible wit, Athina Rachel Tsan­gari has man­aged to make a film that is both a hi­lar­i­ous com­edy and a deeply dis­turb­ing state­ment on the con­di­tion of Western hu­man­ity,” Paw­likowski said.

The dis­tinc­tion comes a few months af­ter “The Lob­ster,” di­rected by Tsan­garis’s fre­quent col­lab­o­ra­tor and main au­teur of the so-called “Greek weird wave” scene Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos, won the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Fes­ti­val.

The awards cer­e­mony in Lon­don also saw Cate Blanchett awarded the Bri­tish Film In­sti­tute Fel­low­ship, by her “Lord of the Rings” co-star Ian McKellen, for her out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to film.

Born in Athens in 1966, Tsan­gari stud­ied lit­er­a­ture at the Aris­to­tle Univer­sity of Thes­sa­loniki be­fore mov­ing on to per­for­mance stud­ies at the New York Univer­sity’s Tisch School of the Arts and film di­rect­ing at the Univer­sity of Texas.

Be­sides “Che­va­lier” and “At­ten­berg,” Tsan­gari’s di­rect­ing cred­its in­clude “The Slow Busi­ness of Go­ing” (2000). She was also part of the cre­ative team led by Dim­itris Pa­paioan­nou which de­vel­oped the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies of the 2004 Athens Olympics, work­ing as a pro­jec­tion de­signer and video di­rec­tor.

In 2013, Tsan­gari served as a mem­ber of the jury at the 63rd edi­tion of the Ber­lin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val.

An ab­sur­dist char­ac­ter study, ‘Che­va­lier’ tells the story of six men who, stuck on a bro­ken-down ves­sel, em­bark on a game to de­cide who is ‘the best in every­thing.’

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