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Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Dailies from the Thessaloniki international Film Festival

The 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival was concluded with great success, receiving the audience’s love in every possible way. More than 80,000 viewers and movie industry professionals watched the films and attended the Festival’s online events, whereas a large number films of were sold out. Agora, the Festival’s development branch, also achieved a great attendance, offering support to Greek cinema through a series of new initiatives, actions, and awards.

The 61st Festival hosted a series of exhibitions and visual art events, within the framework of TIFF’s main concept, “Intimacy: a modern tyranny”. Works of art, video mapping, as well as The Glasshouse Project installation adorned the city streets and squares, as well as the Port of Thessaloniki, offering glimpses of joy and hope to the city’s residents, who had the chance to enjoy a touch of art during their scarce walks for exercise, groceries and the covering of basic needs, amidst these hard days we’re experiencing. The goal is for these exhibitions to remain in the city’s public space even after the Festival. 



HOLY MOTORS (2012) at 53rd TIFF

HOLY MOTORS (2012) premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and most recently opened the 53rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival



Is it gratuitous shock-value pomp or high surrealistic cinematic genius? You decide…

A swarthy dwarfish (though not a dwarf) Parisian, ‘Monsieur Oscar’ (played by Denis Lavant), lives for the night like some kind of vampire or ancient fiend feeding off humanity’s basest Chthonic nature. By day he is a loving father to his teenaged daughter, but by night a creature, monster, stark-raving madman.

Driven around in a white limo by an older French woman, Celine, Oscar appears very much like an errant method actor putting on and taking off his masks while getting lost inside each character blurring the lines between what is real and what is mere illusion; after all, who can say? 

This anti-hero is on a crusade to explore every possible face he can and exorcise his every craving. What and who exactly is Oscar? Perhaps he is a metaphor for all human fear and desire. Or perhaps he is merely desire itself- he stomps around eating flowers voraciously through a Paris graveyard, chases Eva Mendez with a red-haired boner, commits murderous rampage with periodical pauses for sexual acrobats with a Tron-like circus performer and stops for a nostalgic love musical with Kylie Minogue just before she throws herself off a building to a morbid demise. Oh, and did I mention the white limo talks at the end?

Whatever Oscar represents, or doesn’t, the film is a lot like life… an enigma impossible to impose definite meaning upon, sans sequence; and while seeming to go somewhere, it often ends up at a standstill, but never ceases to shock and amaze.

As a fellow viewer stated: 'I’ve seen this film twice now and I still don’t know what it’s about'.


-written by Vanessa McMahon


Filmography 1980 Strangulation Blues (short) 1984 Boy Meets Girl 1986 Mauvais sang/Bad Blood 1991 Les Amants du Pont-Neuf/The Lovers on the Bridge 1997 Sans titre (short) 1999 Pola X 2006 My Last Minute (short) 2008 Tokyo! (segment Merde) 2009 42 One Dream Rush (short) 2012

Holy Motors Director: Leos Carax Script: Léos Carax Photographer: Caroline Champetier, Yves Cape Montage: Nelly Quettier Sound: Erwan Kerzanet, Katia Boutin, Josefina Rodriguez, Emmanuel Croset Music: Neil Hannon Art Direction: Emmanuelle Cuillery Costumes: Anaïs Romand With: Denis Lavant (Monsieur Oscar), Édith Scob (Céline), Kylie Minogue (Eva/Jean), Eva Mendes (Kay M.), Élise Lhomeau (Léa/Élise), Jeanne Disson (Angèle), Michel Piccoli (the man with the birthmark)

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About Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Industry: CROSSROADS Co-Production Forum,AGORA, script-development BALKAN FUND. Competition for directors with 1st or 2nd films. Golden Alexander Prize 37.000 €

Coverage by Vanessa McMahon, Laurie Gordon



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