The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Cinema] - MOON, 66 QUESTIONS | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Cinema] - MOON, 66 QUESTIONS

Moon, 66 Questions review
A teenager reevaluates her relationship with her father when he is stricken by illness.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Jacqueline Lentzou

Starring: Sofia Kokkali, Lazaros Georgakopoulos

Moon, 66 Questions poster

Moon, 66 Questions, the remarkable debut feature of writer/director Jacqueline Lentzou, begins with a discordant abstract which will distinguish the loose narrative pulse of its storytelling. In a plaintive voiceover playing over a purposefully drab home-video montage of travel (old motors, the view from a plane, even cable cars) we are informed that "when we fall in love with someone" we fall in love with a person "in that moment," a juncture which is, of course, due to the immutable laws of temporality and the human condition, privy to change. Events are framed by Artemis (yes, like the hunter - a deliberate code in this film embroidered with symbolism) as she documents her journey; she is a young woman who is returning to a Greek home which she has been hitherto estranged from. Dad has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and, as the eldest child, it now falls to Artemis to tend to him.

Moon, 66 Questions review

Lentzou’s film depicts Artemis’ return, her father’s illness, and the almost jovial apathy of her family, via abstruse sequences of her interacting with her environment. As her father’s body increasingly fails him, so is Artemis further disillusioned, and Lentzou’s visual set communicates this sense of alienation through non-causal sequences and lingering close ups. The effect is emotive, the cinematic language one of significant visual detail: a recurring motif is legs or arms in motion, such as lithe limbs paddling in a swimming pool shot underwater, which is a brutal contrast to Artemis’ father’s inhibited physicality.

Moon, 66 Questions accomplishes immersion with this conceptual approach: we see events entirely from Artemis’ perspective, spending the entire film with her, witnessing her private and public moments. Sofia Kokkali is superb as the lead, characterising the film with her aloof but authentic performance. At one point, alone, she crawls about on the floor, in the manner of someone struck with a physically wasting disease. Is she attempting to empathise, or just messing about to pass the time? Either could be true: at times Moon, 66 Questions can feel like a fly on the wall documentary, such is the lived-in nature of its characters, and their true unknowability.

Moon, 66 Questions review

Upon this stream of consciousness arrangement, structure is imposed by a dialect of icons and codes, such as the tarot cards (Artemis is a bit wistful and new-agey) which intersperse the film and act as titles for its varied chapters (using, as one would hope, Pamela Colman Smith’s intricate and beautifully candid Rider-Waite pack). An early example is the Two of Swords - a card suggestive of female intuition and choices to be made (even if you aren’t au fait with the deck, Colman Smith’s art is always instinctively evocative). At times the allegories are a bit more on the nose... Throughout, the car from the earliest shots of the film is duly driven, awkwardly manoeuvred Austin Powers style in a garage, crashed and then vividly scrapped in a compactor: bit like life, yeah?

Moon, 66 Questions review

Nominally a film about accepting responsibility and overcoming pain from the past, perhaps Moon, 66 Questions is better recounted as a study of individual experience. Its style and storytelling, with its dense solipsism and visually dominant slow burn, will not be everyone’s glass of Ouzo, but those whose tastes it does meet will find themselves drunk on its vivid imagery and hypnotic pace. In its indefinite and skewed approach to the life of a young woman, it reminded me of that We're All Going to the World's Fair film, another film about a young person where the impetus is upon evoking a withdrawn, aimless experience. Could we be seeing a new wave of storytelling concerning this generation and their once removed digital methods of communication, their all-encompassing absorption? Existing in narratives where the devastating denouement is the eventual realisation that adulthood, with its attendant responsibilities and relative lack of freedoms, is as inevitable as it is inconvenient?

Moon, 66 Questions is in UK cinemas from June 24th.

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