If Yorgos Lanthimos’s arthouse hit ‘Dogtooth’ set a trend in Greek cinema for blacker-than-Hades dysfunctional family tragicomedies, Alexandros Avranas’s second feature updates that genre for the recession era (and subtracts the comedy). From the not-so-happy birthday that opens the film, through to the hostility underlying the handful of scenes with actual dialogue, and up to the harrowing final revelation, ‘Miss Violence’ fulfils the grisly promise of its title.
After a girl commits suicide at her eleventh birthday party, her family attempt to restore a sense of normality to their lives. But as they try to cope with grief and money problems, their erratic behaviour points to an elephant in the room. Occasional bursts of violence eventually build to a rape scene that savagely fills the plot holes. What you take from ‘Miss Violence’ depends both on your stomach for this kind of brutality, and whether you appreciate its cold, mannered formalism – one viewer’s stylistic tour de force is another’s grating Haneke pastiche. Still, this is punchy stuff.