This movie is the favourite of
It is the beginning of the tourist season in the main resort of a Greek island and the entertainers, just like the fishes in the fish tank shown at the beginning of this film, are ready to live the same day over and over again. ANIMAL by Sofia Exarchou is a compelling portrayal of alienation and detachment among seasonal workers in the tourist industry: forced to wear a smile and, day after day, amuse a nameless, faceless, mostly out-of-focus crowd, they seem to live in a bubble where it is impossible to create strong and lasting bonds. The lead actress Dimitra Vlagopoulou (who received a well-deserved Pardo for best performance at Locarno Film Festival 2023) is perfect in showing the increasing distress of Kalia. She is the senior dancer and most experienced worker of the group and is coping with a life, that once seemed to be an escape route, but has turned into a prison - a vicious circle where the only way out seems to be downwards. As Kalia’s descent into despair and self-destruction accelerates, Exarchou’s camera gets closer and closer, the framing becomes more and more suffocating and intrusive, forcing the viewer into experiencing the same feelings as the main character. But – since substitutability is a tenet of seasonal jobs in tourist areas – in the end we go back to the resort: same fishes in the fish tank, same mixture of pale dreams and hidden sorrow on stage, for a show that, once again, will be repeated day after day, identically the same way, with simply a new protagonist.