Hard Goodbyes: My Father

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This affecting debut feature set in the 1960s is a film about grief - that of ten-year-old Elias (Karayannis) after the death of his father, a travelling salesman, in a car crash - but not a depressing one. That's the result of the point of view: not so much the child's own, as one suffused with a sensitivity to this intelligent boy's inner world, which enables the writer/director simultaneously to emphasise his painful bewilderment, his stratagems of survival and the endurance of familial love, and to draw subtle parallels with the coping mechanisms of the adults around him. To this end, Panayotopoulou brings a rewarding psychological acuity to the way she traces the boy's tortured reaction, and this extends to the sober, mature performances elicited from the rest of the cast and the unshowy expressiveness of the camerawork.

By: WH

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