After topping the London Film Festival competition last October, earning top honours at the Sarajevo Film Festival, winning the Audience Award at the Thessaloniki Int. Film Festival and picking up the Hellenic Film Academy’s Best Screenplay Award, Athina Rachel Tsangari’s dark comedy, Chevalier, has set its sights on the Oscars, being selected to represent Greece in the Best Foreign-language Film category.
Focusing on a group of men stuck on a luxury boat after their weekend getaway, Tsangari’s follow-up to the acclaimed Weird Wave-igniter, Attenberg, mixes dark comedy with sharp social commentary. Co-penned by Efthymis Filippou, the script pushes its heroes into an ever darkening spiral of back-stabbing competition, as the men, bored out of their minds, invent a game of constant comparisons, aiming to determine which one of them is “the best at everything”.
Featuring uber-popular local pop star Sakis Rouvas in his second feature film, alongside a stellar cast including Makis Papadimitriou (Suntan), Vangelis Mourikis (Stratos) and Panos Koronis (Before Midnight), Chevalier’s claim to the Oscar submission was no mean feat, as the film came head-to-head with local box office annihilator Worlds Apart by Christopher Papakaliatis.
Already slated for a North American theatrical run after its massive success at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, Papakaliatis’ crowd-pleaser missed Oscar qualification by a single vote at the special committee, set up by the Greek Ministry of Culture in order to determine the country’s Oscars submission.
The two films’ tight duel led Culture Minister Aristides Baltas to congratulate both contenders and state that “such high competition mirrors the heights Greek cinema has risen to, a fact also proven by the successful run exhibited by Greek films in international film festivals across the globe”.
From among the record-breaking number of 86 films submitted for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Award, nine finalists will be shortlisted in December, with the final five nominees being announced on 24 January 2017. The winner will be crowned at the Oscar ceremony on 26 February 2017.