Greek cinema is experiencing a moment, despite the problems that the European country has gone through in the past two decades. Directors like Yorgos Lanthimos have become famous all over the world for their films, especially Lanthimos’ English-language films like crayfishAnd FavoriteAnd Kill a sacred deeralong with the upcoming science fiction film, Poor things.
Lanthimos’ work came to define the Greek New Wave (dubbed the Greek Strange Wave), which came to show public disillusionment with Greek society, the economy, and the government amid the crisis. Although many Greek New Wave films rarely get media attention in the West and outside of Greece, these films are increasingly deserving of attention, especially with the release of Broadway.
Broadway It is the directorial debut of director Christos Masalas, who got a huge boost in his efforts to make this movie. Previously, Masalas garnered attention for his shorts and was selected as one of fifteen Emerging Filmmakers globally at the 2016 Locarno Film Festival. His work previously appeared in the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Competition, where he demonstrated his immense talent before making feature films. Broadway It tells the story of pickpockets who live in Athens and find solace in each other when times are tough. Elsa Lekakou, Vivos Papadopoulos, Stathis Apostolo, Raphael Babad, and Salem Talebye all star in the film.
According to Variety, Broadway Specifically enlisted the support of the Hellenic Film Center and the Sundance Institute, Massalas was also selected for screenwriting labs in Cannes and Sundance to help create and flesh out the film. Broadway The film describes itself as a musical with elements of social realism, which is increasingly evident as it incorporates dance and song into the story. It appeared in many film festivals around the world before getting a theatrical release in major US cities, such as New York and Los Angeles. Le Pacte has picked up the film for worldwide distribution.
Found families and lives a little crime
Broadway It opens in a classic way: two figures, a man and a woman, sit opposite each other. The man is in prison, and in a voiceover to close out the scene, the film immediately flashes back to the past, back to why they were there at that moment. As Nelly, the woman, says, she constantly finds herself in terrible situations. Nelly has been working in a nightclub as a pole dancer, trying to make a living for herself. Her mother married a rich man who was not her father, whom Nellie referred to as Pitbull, and Nellie now sees her mother as a monster. It is one night at work when she runs into Marcus, the guy she later babysits while he is in prison.
That night, Nellie’s mother sends a group of men she had hired to collect Nellie and bring her home. In the audience, she sees Marcus and identifies him as a regular who gives her good advice, but tonight he is going to save her from her past. They soon become lovers, and he asks her to come with him to Broadway, where his family is staying.
Although Nelly thought Broadway was in the US, this Greek version of Broadway is inside an abandoned theater complex. Everyone who lives there comes from a unique background: entertainers, con artists, people on the run. For someone like Nelly, this will become a new home, because she, too, has nowhere else to belong.
Film Noir and LGBTQ+ Mash-Up on Broadway
For a while, it seemed like she’d found her place to survive inside. The family works as a team, using Nelly as a public spectacle so that others can criticize passers-by who have stopped to watch her dance in the street. However, things begin to change when Nelly is joined by a new addition to the family during her street dance routine, reinventing her identity as a street show woman, renamed Barbara from Jonas, to get away from the people who left them so bloody and mean. beat to a pulp.
As the two take to the streets and work together with their dance, their chemistry and energy begins to attract larger crowds each day. It’s only a matter of time before Marcus is caught taking wallets out of people’s pockets by the police, and with him out of the equation, the lust between Nelly and Jonas begins to take over their relationship with each other.
Broadway Film noir elements hang in it, wandering the streets of Athens and merging traditional characteristics of the genre, incorporating elements of drag and the local LGBTQ+ community to add more relevant twists for a modern audience. As the viewer learns from the beginning with Nelly, the past is never truly left behind, even when one believes that person or thing is gone forever. Some of the bright scenes throughout the film come when the characters, who have long lived in the shadows and trapped in cages, can break free from the shackles placed on them, which extends deeper into a physical metaphor with the monkey, Lola, being pulled out of the cage repeatedly when Marcus is captured. .
Broadway is a visually stunning yet bumpy ride
Cinematography is one of the highlights of BroadwayEspecially since the score adds to the movie’s atmosphere at the right moments. Every frame feels deliberate and delightfully cinematic, whether it’s the characters standing in a deserted projection room now converted into a bedroom, or Nelly letting the family’s pet monkey dance as everyone sleeps through the night.
The camera rarely pans from Nellie’s perspective except when needed, such as when Marcus is arrested or Jonas, like Barbara, goes once a week to a building on a mystery mission. Voiceovers from Nellie’s perspective add more context, meaning much of the action that happens on screen comes from a sense of recollection.
However, the film’s plot seems to ignore critical things that seem relevant early on. Although Jonas eventually transitions into the character of Barbara, there are elements of her past that are constantly harassed throughout the film and even used as a threat at some points.
But by the end BroadwayNone of these looming shadows appear over her past and remain mere talking points, effectively making these details become red herrings that lead nowhere. Towards the end of the movie, these disjointed details can be frustrating, especially when they’re brought up over and over and never actually used. Even for Nelly, the topic of her mother trying to find her is forgotten, even though her mother sent people to find her at the beginning of the story. Broadway.
The seductive qualities of Broadway are very Greek
Other elements complement the themes and tone of the film. Set in Athens, the movie gets to the deep, dirty side of the city beyond what people might imagine Greece is. The focus on LGBTQ+ relationships and fluid identity adds to the characters and situations they encounter, even if they’re rescued by a group of drag queens from the police that may not be amusing to the police officers about to be trampled.
There is a lot to unpack throughout the film when it comes to gender discourse and analysis. Two of the men living on Broadway are in a relationship with each other, while Nelly, seduced by someone’s charm into saving her, becomes increasingly involved in a homosexual relationship after Jonas moves in on Barbara.
Broadway It is a seductive film, drawing viewers in for a final bewildering look before they have the final say on what happens next. At its core, one could interpret it as a family story in which a group of criminals, entertainers, and dancers come together to find something in a world that rejects them. In Greece, which has been hit hard by the economic crises of the past two years, many are forced to make tough decisions in order to survive and get through the week.
However, that doesn’t make them bad people – as we’ve seen throughout the movie, these characters just want a chance to feel free and at peace. One thing is for sure: Christos Masalas is a director to watch ahead. Broadway Himself showing a great deal of promise for a directorial debut in the industry.
Broadway It will hit theaters April 27, 2023, and will be available digitally and on DVD May 16.