“Crying in movies is so fake…It’s almost ridiculous when someone starts crying.” The Greek Film Pity, directed by Babis Makridis opens with this line which pretty much sums up the film in itself. Pity is the journey of a lawyer who is addicted to self-loathing and sadness. He lives a lonely life with his son and dog. His wife has been in a coma for the longest time and the people around him offer him his sympathies every day including his neighbour, his father and even the person who does his laundry.
The unnamed protagonist becomes obsessed with his sadness to such an extent that even after his wife’s recovery, he longs for causes to be sad and cry to his heart’s content.
The manner in which the film charts a graph of the protagonist’s mania to feel sad is excellent. Props to the screenwriter, Efthymis Filippou of The Lobster’s fame to script such a gradually proceeding story balancing a sense of comedy in such dire circumstances with a sense of pain which transcends the screen. However, the film is a slow-burn but the payoff is worth the slow pacing. The story is divided into chapters with small poems or monologues by the protagonist being the dividers which tie down excellently into the narrative.
The acting is fantastic with Yannis Drakopoulos’s unnamed protagonist being the most interesting among the slew of very well written side-characters. The way he maintains a blank face when he speaks or the sudden outbursts of crying is when his versatility as an actor truly shines.
The film is a visual treat with static wide shots with a pastel colour palette making the film look like a painting. The bright colours in the film are a direct contrast to the feelings of the protagonist and the tone of the film.
However, it is very difficult to speak further about such a film without revealing integral plot points. One of the best films of MAMI 2018 and probably this year, Pity is a story worth witnessing on screen.
Student – BBA (Media & Communication)