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Director: Yannis Veslemes
Authors: Dimitris Emmanouilidis, Yannis Veslemes
Stars: Dominique Pinon, Julio Katsis, Panos Papadopoulos

Summary: Three brothers build an unusual time machine to bring their long-dead mother back to life.


Two things come to mind when I think of the Greek Weird Wave. The first is the critically and commercially beloved Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos. The second is my gratitude. For a cinephile, there is nothing better than having the opportunity to explore the entire world and time itself through film. As a Greek, Lanthimos was my real introduction to Greek cinema and allowed me to see my country, Greece, during all the years I was unable to travel there again. I have since changed that, but returning to Greece and the growing notoriety of Lanthimos’ career has only increased my desire to devour more of Greek cinema. She loved flowers moreYannis Veslemes’ drug-addled journey into grief and ultimately through it. And staying true to the stylistic wave of the aforementioned films, Veslemes’ film is as weird as it gets. But it avoids being weird just for the sake of shock and has earned its deserved recognition for bringing a clear vision to the screen.

The film doesn’t so much open up to the viewer as simply throw them into the fray. We see three men, who it quickly turns out are brothers, living together. We barely see the whole house they’re in, but you get the sense that it’s enormous. It’s also clearly dilapidated. It’s the kind of oversized house that, as a child, walking past you could only imagine the most shocking horrors and mad science going on inside. That thought burrowed into my brain early on in the film and only expanded further from there, thanks to Veslemes’ dedication to style and tone. And that thought wouldn’t be unfounded if you’re looking in from the outside. When we meet these brothers, they’re clearly operating at the level of mad scientists. Hedgehog (Panos Papadopoulos), Dummy (Julio Katsis), and Japan (Aris Balis) are clearly skilled. They have the skill and means to build a makeshift laboratory in the name of their goal. What they’re doing should be impossible, but when we meet them, they’re on the verge of something both wonderful and terrifying. Yet these three clearly struggle to provide for their most basic needs.

For example, cooking falls to Dummy. He takes a strange meat out of the freezer and is not only unsure of what it is, but also of when it came from. He barely hears his brothers’ criticism of the bad taste and even worse smell. The three are going through a rough time. They have lost their mother, who is apparently buried in the backyard. Coping with such a loss has focused their attention on a single task. The only thing that seems to distract them is the vast amount of drugs they consume. In this flood of drug use, Veslemes is able to capitalize on what she She loved flowers more a standout genre film. Just count how many disparate elements come together to form something unique. The opening credits roll over images that bring to mind gritty, dystopian sci-fi. We see built hardware that seems to have been thrown together from whatever junk was around. Then the score kicks in, also by Veslemes, playing in a manner that resembles what a hyperactive mind would conjure up while reading a crime novel. It’s music that would play in a villain’s lair in a B-movie. The whole film is layered with cinematic-inspired footage, with heavy film grain clashing sharply against the active digital images that make up everything else. This footage is used sparingly, but it’s certainly effective. There are practical effects throughout, which blend well with the psychedelic digital tricks on display. Veslemes throws a lot at his audience. But in this mess, his thesis seems to take shape.

The constant distortions that run across the screen and the stylistic choices that mesh with one another make it clear how torn these people’s souls are. When the drugs they take to numb their grief aren’t enough, their concentration is the only thing that propels them through it. The work at stake? Building a machine that can bring their mother back to life. And that machine happens to be made from the remains of their mother’s large closet, still full of clothes she left behind. Is this a way for the filmmakers to save money by not having to build an entire contraption? It’s possible. Yet Veslemes’ film contains many pointed observations that tie these brothers’ grief directly to the closet itself. The pain they feel is palpable, and any viewer can empathize with the lengths they go to. Seeing objects that once belonged to or were used by people who are no longer with us has a tremendous impact. “It’s just a closet,” is said at least twice in the film. In both cases, the answer is the same: “It’s more than that.” Yet in both sequences, the meaning of these conversations is reversed. In the first sequence, it serves as the idea that this is indeed a machine that can bridge the gap between space and time. Yet the second meaning is far stronger. It’s not just a closet. And it’s not just a machine they built, either. It’s their mother’s closet, full of memories embedded in the fibers of every thread of every piece of clothing. We remember those who are no longer with us by what they leave behind.

I have already mentioned the use of film photography. Most often it is associated with home movies, the film size looks like 16 mm. In particular, it evokes a certain feeling of nostalgia. And in She loved flowers more, Veslemes uses it in a way that seems to distort time itself. Hedgehog wanders aimlessly through the house and we follow him through the lens of a handheld film camera. It’s like we’re witnessing something we shouldn’t have access to. We’re watching a child grieving for his mother. These are deeply painful or anxiety-provoking moments that make us feel outside of ourselves. And through that camera, the film chillingly captures an out-of-body experience. These brothers, brilliant as they are, are still on a quest that will likely end in folly. Yet they are caught up in the hubris of their own efforts. For even the most brilliant mind, some forces are too cryptic to ever be understood. They certainly can’t be changed or reversed. In grief, we may find ourselves obsessed with simple ideas. The most universal idea of ​​all sets these brothers on their path: they want to bring their mother back. It seems to be a vicious cycle. These brothers are not the only ones trapped inside.

In all times, there are people who have lost loved ones. It is as if history is a never-ending loop of grief. And everyone will surely react in their own way. Can this loop ever be broken? When I think about the answer to this question, I return to one of the first lines of the film: “I remain optimistic about the future.” That may not be a concrete answer, but there is certainly hope in knowing that, one way or another, we will always find our way to happier days lived in memory of those who are no longer with us. If we hold on to these objects and these memories of our loved ones, we will surely get through the worst stages of grief. Because as creepy and repulsive as She loved flowers more It may be so sometimes, but even in the most disturbing places, hope can be found.

She loved flowers more celebrated its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in the Escape from Tribeca section. Tickets for screenings and further information about the film are available here.

Degree: C+

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