On The Threshold


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

"Unflinching in its observation, compelling in its detail."

Some films are hard to talk about because they don't give (or, in fairness, the reviewer cannot find) a toe-hold, a point to start unraveling and explaining why it is good or bad or indifferent, but On The Threshold is not one of those films because each element works so well in support of the other that there is no need to grasp or stand as one is carried along with it.

Lena cooks, cleans, cares for the child her brother calls "your bastard", does her father's will, takes flour to the immigrant workers in the wood-shop, hides from the Police when she is told to, recites the names of the Saints from worn cards, wears a sequined dress by the truck-stop to entice kerb-crawlers, serves as bait for her brother's armed robberies. She sometimes wears earrings.

Copy picture

Myrto Papoulia's performance is central to the film. She moves around the hillside compound interacting with the men in her life - father, brother, son, her friend among the migrants - with unimpeachable verité, in one of those performances that seems not to be.

Unflinching in its observation, compelling in its detail, the film is more than strong enough to stand without context but Eye For Film was lucky enough to attend a screening with writer/director Anastasia Kratidi present, and in the subsequent Q&A the effort involved impressed. Most shots are single takes, the lighting natural, the locations real, the editing minimal, the script written as a result of "research from women and girls who live on the margins of society", exploring the mixture of force and obligation that families exert, the constraints of societal and familial expectation. The location "isolated, but only 15 minutes from the city", all this and more creating a feel that is "not really an aesthetic, more like honesty", and brutal at that. Do not hesitate - try to see it if you can.

Reviewed on: 03 Mar 2014
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A devoted young woman does everything for her family.

Director: Anastasia Kratidi

Starring: Myrto Papoulia

Year: 2013

Runtime: 19 minutes

Country: Greece


Glasgow 2014

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