Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari
Cast: Giannis Drakopoulos, Kostas Filippoglou, Yiorgos Kendros
Runtime: 99 minutes
Showtime: April 30th 2:30 PM
Language: Greek with English Subtitles
Hellenic Film Academy Awards: Best Film, Director, Screenplay; London Film
Festival: Best Film; Sarajevo Film Festival: Best Actor (cast), Special Jury Mention
Two other wins, 16 nominations.
“The film is made watchable by a strong cast that renders the men’s vulnerability particularly sympathetic.”—Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail
Men! We’re awful, aren’t we? That’s the general theme of Chevalier, a spiky, witty, occasionally unsettling black comedy set on a not-quite-luxury yacht somewhere off the Greek coast. That’s where six fairly wealthy guys – not so much friends as loosely connected business associates and family members – have gathered to dive, jet-ski, play parlour games and bicker about who’s best at spear-fishing.
But as boredom sets in, the most confident of the bunch, Yorgos (Panos Koronis), suggests a new game: to find out who’s best. Not at any one thing, but in general: who’s the best man here. And so begins the weirdest pissing contest ever, as everything from sleeping position to stone-skimming to (inevitably) penis size becomes a competitive sport. The prize is a chevalier, a golden ring (but note that the title hints at a 1950 film called Le Chevalier de Bacchus, which translates as The Big Hangover.)
Director Athina Rachel Tsangari keeps things brisk, maintaining an almost nature-doc distance from her subjects. Her affection for them is plain, but that doesn’t mean she lets them off the hook, mining big laughs from the awkward everyday interactions between unhappy people forced to share the same space. One could find underlying ideas about the Greek ruling class and their isolation from reality. Or you could just go for the macho posturing, ego-puncturing and art-house dick jokes. Men will be boys, whether in Vegas or on the high seas.