CAPSULE: This film contains three stories of love and callousness, in each a Greek having a romantic relationship with somebody from another country. The three stories are bound together by the story of a fourth Greek less positive. Christopher Papakaliatis wrote, produced, directed and acts. For US audiences it might be a primer on the anti-immigrant movements in Greece as well as the financial crises. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10
This is three love stories set in Greece in a time of turmoil and financial crisis. The stories are bound together to take place at the same time and toward the end they join together to be one single story. The film takes place in Athens and in each story a Greek meets and has a relationship with a non-Greek.
The first story has a young Greek woman, Daphne (played by Niki Vakali) saved from a street mugging by Syrian refugee Farris (Tawfeek Barhom), once an artist, now a street vendor. The Syrian decides he likes this woman and pursues her in his own way. This turns into a Romeo and Juliet story, since Daphne's father Antonis (Minas Chatzisavvas) leans to the fascistic, who wants to see all these foreigners thrown out of his country. With a little help from some friends he intends to take matters into his own hands. He sees himself as having lost everything he valued to immigrants, especially street thieves.
In the second story, Giorgios works as a salesman for a big corporation. Its home office in Sweden is downsizing it. Giorgios is played by Christopher Papakaliatis, who co-produced, wrote and directed WORLDS APART. The company sends a corporate "axe man" to Athens to lay off workers and perform the downsizing. In this case the axe man is really an axe woman and though the two disagree strongly on company policy, outside of work they find something to like in each other.
The third story has a Greek housewife Maria (Maria Kavoyianni) having her world turned around when she meets a German historian intent on introducing her to poetry, philosophy, and a wider more romantic world. The professor is improbably played by J. K. Simmons who brings his usual amiable style, though he is not entirely convincing as a German. The two meet secretly in the grocery at the same time each week for a platonic rendezvous in a world apart from Maria's unpleasant home life.
There is a thread that ties the stories together; it snakes through the other stories, touching all the major characters.
The film is a Greek production. Most of the cast will be unfamiliar to American audiences, the one exception being Simmons. Scuttlebutt is that most of the others are well known in Greece. Christopher Papakaliatis who wrote, produced, directed, and is one of the main characters looks a bit like a Greek Mandy Patinkin. The film is in English and Greek with English subtitles.
The film was made in 2015, but with nativist attitudes making themselves felt in the United States and with the financial crisis in Greece it can only be more relevant today than when it was made. I would rate WORLDS APART a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10. It will be coming to DVD and On Demand on April 11, 2017.
Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3909336/combined
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/worlds_apart_2015
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2017 Mark R. Leeper