Written and directed by Jacqueline Lentzou, after years of distance, Artemis has to get back to Athens due to her father’s frail state of health. Discovering her father’s well-kept secret allows Artemis to understand her father, in a way she was not able before, therefore love him truly for the first time. Starring: Sofia Kokkali and Lazaros Georgakopoulos.
There’s an unusual quality to Jacqueline Lentzou’s direction, it’s unconcerned with any typical expectation, it almost has a mind of its own. It’s connected to the story but not bound by it, straying to home videos, focusing on various different elements rather than concentrating on just faces and emotions. It’s distinctive and confident, capturing everything through the lens of an observer, with obscure angles and a sharp, clean edge to its cinematography. The only element which feels erroneous is the use of chapters, separating out a story which follows a singular path, they simply don’t have anything to add.
While its visual style is unconventional, its strangest element is undoubtedly the creation of Artemis. She has a manic and chaotic energy, she’s hard to decipher and feels as though she was an intensely imaginative kid who refused to truly grow up when she realised the banal nature of adult reality. However, the story as a whole, proves less complex, while there are certainly complicated emotions at work, the exploration feels like it leaves out a lot of detail. There’s so much implication of secrecy and past regret that the end result feels too simple, it doesn’t satisfy the need that it’s built for something more intricate. It grows such a strong atmosphere but doesn’t have the plot development to back it up, the details it provides are overly minimal. It has a good concept but there was much more territory to explore.
Sofia Kokkali’s ability to contain all the different qualities to Artemis is impressive, she’s jam-packed with quirks and energies. Kokkali perfectly portrays how much there is going on inside her head, bringing a sincere intensity, to an almost ferocious degree. While Lazaros Georgakopoulos has to work with being extremely restricted in how he can portray the emotions of Paris, but he does a great job. There’s so much self-denial, stubbornness and resentment, he fights to hide himself and to refuse his vulnerability. His story is one element that certainly needed a lot more explanation of how he came to break apart from his family, ultimately we’re given the reason but not the experience and there was a lot more to gain from that thread.
Moon, 66 Questions is an impressively styled debut feature from Jacqueline Lentzou, it’s distinctive and holds an enticing atmosphere. Sofia Kokkali gives a strong performance, creating an utterly unique and enigmatic character, who doesn’t fit anyone’s typical mould. The story has a solid heart and the struggle for father and daughter to rebuild their relationship is touching. Sadly, it just left out too much to really reach its potential, with so much left unsaid when it could have helped the story achieve a deeper, lasting connection.
Verdict: ✯✯✯½ | 7/10
In UK cinemas 24 June
Reviewed as part of the film’s UK premiere at Glasgow Film Festival