The Greek director Panos Koutras, won critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival for his fourth feature film, “Xenia,” which was screened in the “Un Certain Regard” section of the festival, on Sunday, May 18. “Xenia” is described as his best and most mature film. Other popular films by Koutras are “The Attack of the Giant Mousaka,” “Real Life,” and “Strella.”
The film follows the journey of two Albanian brothers who are searching for their father. Ody (Nikos Gelia), and Danny (Kostas Nikouli), seek their estranged father in Athens, Greece as they rehearse for a talent show that they hope will help them ameliorate their lives. Danny, who is a homosexual and Ody, who tries to keep a low profile in a society hostile to foreigners, will face challenges that reflect the impact of the crisis not only on the economy, but also on the society.
“There’s a decidedly campy side to the proceedings that Koutras effectively juxtaposes with the hard-edged realities of contemporary Greece, a beautiful but hostile nation wrecked by the ongoing economic crisis and a place in which xenophobia, racism and homophobia seem to fester freely,” stated Boyd van Hoeij in his review for the Hollywood Reporter.
The critic Fabien Lemercier wrote for Cineuropa: “Alternating between a fable lulled by a playful spirit and the youthful get-up-and-go of the two heroes, and a raw analysis of the thorny societal issues that are shaking up the political debate in Greece and indeed in Europe (nationality and jus soli/jus sanguinis, and the rise in extremist movements masquerading as patriotism), Xenia (a Greek word meaning ‘hospitality’) is above all a very successful portrait of brotherhood.”