Canadian Premiere
Selection 2019

The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea

Directed by Syllas Tzoumerkas

Credits  

Official selection

Berlin International Film Festival 2019

Director

Syllas Tzoumerkas

Writer

Youla Boudali, Syllas Tzoumerkas

Cast

Youla Boudali, Angeliki Papoulia, Christos Passalis

contact

New Europe Film Sales

Sweden, Germany, Greece, Netherlands 2019 121 mins OV Greek Subtitles : English
Genre DramaThriller

“A disquieting spectacle of strangeness”
Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN

“A stylish, many-stranded mystery that often casts viewers adrift in clashing tides of dark genre convention, nightmarish surrealism and fevered close-up character study”
Guy Lodge, VARIETY

Eels, eels, eels! A brutal crime film with surreal undertones, THE MIRACLE OF THE SARGASSO SEA is about two women seeking to escape from the sun-bleached village of Mesolongi. There is the police chief Elisabeth (Lanthimos regular Angeliki Papoulia, from DOGTOOTH and ALPS, channelling Harvey Keitel in BAD LIEUTENANT), who was forced to relocate from Athens a decade earlier, and the mysterious Rita (Youla Boudali), the younger sister of a local bar singer. After a shocking death rocks the community, the women’s destinies interlock and their grip on reality start to slip as the film moves deeper into the landscape of the subconscious.

In the tradition of New Weird Greek Wave cinema, a movement piloted by Yorgos Lanthimos (THE LOBSTER) and Athina Rachel Tsangari (ATTENBERG), Syllas Tzoumerkas’s THE MIRACLE OF THE SARGASSO SEA mixes mythic invocations with the realities of post-austerity Greece. As much about the Gods as the aftermath of the 2008 Crisis, it blends the blood-spattered real world and the hazy but equally troubling nightmares of legend. The Sargasso Sea has long been seen as a mysterious place where ships become trapped in the weeds, lost for centuries. Like a Bermuda Triangle, it is imbued with the symbolism of being confined to a specific place but also being trapped in the past. It is also where the European eel comes to spawn. In the town that survives largely due to industries surrounding the beguiling sea creature, the eel comes to represent a monstrous escape in a brutal and unfair world. – Justine Smith