GFF 2011: Apnea
In an arresting opening, newly-crowned European swimming champ Dimitris (Sotiris Pastras) reminisces about lost love Elsa (Youlika Skafida), enveloped in the murky, watery solitude in which he feels most comfortable. An environmental activist, Elsa has vanished whilst on an excursion some time before Dimitris’ ascension to greatness.
Utilising interlocking flashbacks detailing the lead-up to and aftermath of her disappearance, then the blossoming of the relationship, Apnea unfolds as a tale of a man unable to escape from the incredible discipline required for his sport and maintain a healthy, rounded life with meaningful emotional connections. Dimitris’ detachment is shared by the audience, the disjointed narrative and sedate pace making for a haunting watch. Stunningly shot and elegantly scored, with moments of genuine tenderness and beauty, debut director Aris Bafaloukas and Pastras have made their protagonist’s story never anything less than fascinating - the latter really coming into his own with some astonishing moments in the last act before a devastating finale.