Wednesday, June 1, 2011


This month's film in the Panorama of Greek Cinema series at the Avalon Theater, Peppermint, was the winner of the 1999 Thessaloniki Film Festival, as well as numerous other awards. On Wednesday, June 1 at 8:00pm, Greek film enthusiasts have the opportunity to see this acclaimed film by director Kostas Kapakas at the Avalon Theater in Washington D.C.

A forty-five year old visits his dying mother. The memories, smells, and flavors of the innocent years of childhood and adolescence are awakened. The ’60s decade is revisited and retrospectively reappraised. There’s a feeling of nostalgia for relationships in the family, erotic, social, and political milieus; nostalgia for smells and flavors; nostalgia for another life that seems so distant but also so indelible. Peppermint is a ‘vintage’ liqueur. It’s a moving comedy about childhood memories filtered through the passage of time.

Kostas Kapakas attempts to reconstruct that era, in a simple manner and on the strength of authentic experience, through the child’s perspective: an innocent perspective of good and evil, at a time when Greece strove to find its feet after the odyssey of wars. The child – the focal point – filters events and sets them at a distance, lending them the texture that only a child is capable of, that of innocence and playfulness. The adults around him seem like the protagonists of a lengthy theatrical play.

With professional adeptness, a well-tuned pace, narrative density, aesthetic simplicity, and without excesses and loud emphases, Kapakas presents a nostalgic film by simply opening the door to a child’s soul. The well-wrought characters, honestly presented, and the delicate deliveries create a world that’s familiar and identifiable. The film is alternately humorous and moving in appropriate measures, which creates a bittersweet backdrop.

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