The writings of Bill Mousoulis
A Greek kisses Paris
Local filmmaker Anna Kannava may not have the profile or success of other Greek-Australian directors such as Ana Kokkinos or Alkinos Tsilimidos, but she has slowly and carefully built up a body of work over the past 25 years that is beautiful, inventive and delicately moving. From early experimental shorts, to the light comedy Vanilla Essence, to the colourful family portraits Ten Years After … Ten Years Older and The Butler, to her first feature film in 2004 Dreams for Life (starring Maria Mercedes), her films have always been very interesting and deceptively artful.
themes have never been far from the surface in her work, but with her new film,
her second feature, Kissing Paris,
she, as the title boldly declares, veers off towards other cultures, other
feelings, different spaces. The film,
which premiered at the Brisbane International Film Festival, but has yet to be
Melbourne, was created here locally,
but a large proportion of it was filmed in
Paris. The film’s heroine, Claire, played by Natalie Vella (an actress equal
parts beauty and intelligence), is nominally Maltese, but could very well
easily be Greek. Nagged by a feeling of
disappointment, and piqued by some old love letters of her mother’s, Claire
decides to leave boyfriend Andrew and go to
intrigued by one other question though: what prompted writer/director Kannava,
a Greek living in
to make a film about
Paris? When I was in
Kannava is clearly a broad-minded soul, a cultural adventurer, and an intellectual investigator. As demonstrated in her other films also, she is able to mix cultures, situations and feelings within the one context, in the process creating interesting connections between things and people.
Kissing Paris is a delightul film on many other levels also though, and I urge everyone to track it down when it is finally screened and released in Melbourne. A small, low-budget production, it was shot on the streets and Metro of Paris very quickly, mainly just by Kannava and her actress, and because of this has an immediacy, freshness, and documentary flavour to it that is wonderful. Kannava sees the Seine, and the grand old buildings, and the cafes, with a distinctive eye, and the film swims in many playful French songs. And the editor Natalya Beloborodova has taken the raw footage and created jazzy montages and a satisfying overall film, from sometimes rough, quick shots.
recent trip to
went to other European cities too, including
Paris, and it is indeed an intoxicating
place. Lovers stop at street corners and
kiss, replicating those famous photos from the past. Are they playing with the cliché? Are they building a new expression? Are they simply in love? All three I’d say.
© Bill Mousoulis July 2009
This review first appeared in Neos Kosmos, 7 July 2009. reference