A drolly absurd addition to Greece’s recent New Wave, this accomplished debut feature from Elina Psykou stars Christos Stergioglou (Dogtooth) as a veteran television host whose plummeting ratings and spiralling personal debt prompt him to stage his own kidnapping.

City to City

The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas

Elina Psykou

After twenty years in the television business, Antonis Paraskevas, Greece's top morning talk-show host, mysteriously disappears. The nation suspects a kidnapping, and the ratings go through the roof. For the first time in years, people are praising the work of this once-adored entertainment icon. It couldn't have gone better if Antonis had planned it himself — which, of course, he did.

Holed up in an empty luxury hotel closed for the winter, Antonis bides his time. He teaches himself molecular gastronomy and fantasizes about his co-workers. Aided by his trusted producer, he manages to orchestrate a series of fake interactions with his so-called abductors. It's the perfect publicity stunt. That is, until the realization sets in that the people of Greece may have a shorter attention span than anticipated. Carefully monitoring the situation on the hotel's many TVs, Antonis grows concerned that he is once again yesterday's news. As time ticks by, he resorts to increasingly drastic measures to keep himself in the limelight and prepare his allegedly loyal fan base for his imminent "release" and comeback.

An intriguing directorial debut from Greece's Elina Psykou, The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas is a starkly realized take on the themes of celebrity, obsession, and isolation. Getting inside the mind of its protagonist, the film uses the hotel's wide-open spaces to create a kind of claustrophobic emptiness. Meanwhile, Psykou's direction keeps the audience engaged, punctuating dryly comedic set pieces with absurdist surprises. Supported by a smartly understated central performance from Christos Stergioglou, this pitch-black tale tells the story of one man's journey from the eyes of a nation to the mouth of madness.

CAMERON BAILEY

Screenings

Sun Sep 08

TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Regular
9:00pm
Mon Sep 09

Scotiabank 6

Industry
11:30am
Mon Sep 09

Scotiabank 8

Regular
1:15pm