Antigone returns from Athens to her troubled hometown, determined to keep a low profile. But this is a complex, difficult woman — her name is no coincidence — and her run-ins with the town's brutish men set a dramatic series of events in motion. A moral drama with an edge.

City to City

Standing Aside, Watching

Yorgos Servetas

Antigone — the name can't be coincidental — returns from Athens to her hometown, seeking to build herself a new, quiet life. The setting between mountains and shoreline is beautiful, but it is a place now defined by its scrap-metal industry and brutish men.

Standing Aside, Watching tells the story of a woman forced by circumstance to confront the place that made her. Having left behind her life as a failed actor, Antigone, now in her thirties, takes a job as an English teacher. She reconnects with old friends and neighbours who never left the town, and even finds a younger boyfriend. But as the community's undercurrents of intolerance and violence begin to boil over, Antigone's determination to return to her roots and quietly reassimilate is shaken — until it becomes increasingly difficult to stay out of other peoples' business.

Using Sophocles's heroine — an eternal emblem of female rebellion — as a starting point, writer-director Yorgos Servetas blends a gritty character study with elements of the traditional western to craft a statement on the self-perpetuating nature of small-town violence. Antigone is a woman both at home and out of place, shaped by the big city but drawn to the starker loyalties of life in a communitywhere secrets are hard to keep. Played with pointed perfection by Marina Symeou (who also starred in Servetas's debut, The Way Things are Determined), she is fascinating and prickly, a force of nature coming home to wreak havoc on the dismal status quo — and hopefully build something new.

CAMERON BAILEY

Screenings

Thu Sep 05

Scotiabank 9

Industry
2:45pm
Thu Sep 05

TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Regular
9:15pm
Fri Sep 06

Scotiabank 9

Regular
4:15pm
Tue Sep 10

Scotiabank 6

Industry
2:00pm