May 9, 2019

Rage Park (Stathis Athanasiou, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Opening his latest offering with a Lost Highway reference, a VHS tape being replaced by a phone video message from an unknown sender, Stathis Athanasiou takes the viewer to a dark, innermost place which blooms uncontrollably with fiery red flowers when the black soil becomes oversaturated with repressed emotions. This 'abstract' locale is hosted by a lonely, unnamed woman whose posh home and garments suggest the upper middle class status, whereas her ostensibly level-headed demeanor conceals utmost unrest about to be externalized.

Exquisitely portrayed by the author's wife Serafita Grigoriadou whose performance ranges from subtle micro-expressions to full-on rampage to stoic composure, the protagonist appears as mysterious as the disturbing footage (a subconscious emission?) that haunts her and eventually breaks the thin line between her calmness and rage. Although we do not know her at all, we are immersed in her wordless 'psycho-monodrama' in any given moment, not only by virtue of Grigoriadou's versatility, but also because of the elegant visuals augmented by the intense score - a peculiar hybrid of ethereal classical music and edgy electronica composed by Stavros Gasparatos. Together with his DoP Olympia Mytilinaiou and production designer Ermina Apostolaki, Athanasiou makes the most of the spatial limitations, achieving the surreal atmosphere that is simultaneously claustrophobic and somewhat liberating.

A spiritual sequel to 2015 feature Alpha (which you can read about HERE), Rage Park operates both as a three-act short film and stylish music video, proudly wearing its influences on its sleeve. At this point, it is available on Vimeo.

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