Film - Moon, 66 Questions

On now at Glasgow Film Festival, Tony Cross watched Moon, 66 Questions...

Moon, 66 Questions is Jacqueline Lentzou’s feature directorial debut and I loved it. I cried at the end. It is the story of a father and daughter. The daughter, Artemis (Sofia Kokkali) has returned to Athens after a long time away because her father, Paris (Lazaros Georgakopoulos), is seriously ill. Artemis is left to do most of the caring for her father, although there are other relatives lurking about. You get the impression their relationship wasn’t easy beforehand. Paris hardly talks, but Artemis suggests he hardly talked to her before he was ill.

The film begins with a couple of minutes of old VHS footage from the late 90s and then we cut to the titles, and we are told that this is: “A film about love, movement, flow (and the lack of them.)” And as the credits roll, we hear ‘Words’ by F R David playing, and you focus on the lyrics: “Words/Don’t come easy/To me/How can I find a way/To make you see/I love you.” And those two things are what the film is about.

The story runs straightforwardly from begin to end but also interweaves old VHS footage and diary entries. These interweavings make you feel like you are inside someone’s memories and key to the story is Artemis’s discovery of a secret that helps her to understand her father. We never really discover what this secret is - at least not in the subtitled version – but she knows, and he knows that she knows. It makes for the kind of ending that makes an old softy like me cry without it feeling unreal or unearned.

Sofia Kokkali’s performance is stunningly good. It feels so natural. Sometimes you watch an actor, and you think, ‘I’m watching acting’. Sometimes you don’t. And Kokkali’s one of the latter. There’s a moment when she’s struggling to put a quilt back in a quilt cover – an experience we’ve all been through – and it builds up to a kind of heart-breaking frustration that is superbly played. A lot of Kokkali’s performance is just done with just the eyes. You can see her thinking and feeling. There’s one scene which – perhaps oddly – reminded me of Bob Hoskins in the final moments of The Long Good Friday. It isn’t quite as long a scene but has the same strength of performance.

Lazaros Georgakopoulos is excellent too. The father who both physically and emotionally struggling. Again, a lot is done without histrionics. For no other reason that this I’d applaud Jacqueline Lentzou for this film. But I loved her direction in general. The title refers to tarot and both tarot and astrology are – small – parts of the film, although I don’t think they are keys to what happens. Fundamentally though Lentzou has written and directed a rather fine film. There isn’t a huge amount of dialogue. There is a lot of silence in this film.

I have said in other reviews that in my old age I have grown to love films where things happen below the surface, and you feel the emotions without the need for ‘acting’. This is the perfect film for me in that respect.

If you get a chance to watch it, you should.

Let’s end as the film ends with ‘Words’ by F R David.

Follow Tony on Twitter @Lokster71  

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