Joy – Adelaide Film Festival – Palace Nova Cinema

In current times, Greece is – sadly – not known as a joyous, carefree country. The bleakness and despair of post-austerity measures is highlighted in Ilias Yannakakis’ 2012 film, Joy, which focusses on a desperate middle-aged woman who walks into a doctor’s clinic and kidnaps a baby. The moments of disturbing maternal affection showered on the stolen baby by the confused and slightly cracked Hara (played by a devastating Amalia Moutoussi) are over all too soon, with her inevitable capture and imprisonment, and the public of a hostile and joyless Greece judge Hara harshly as she is eventually brought to trial for her crime without ever defending herself.

The miserable and desolate nature of the film is highlighted by the stark black and white cinematography, particularly inside Hara’s lonely and joyless prison cell. A confronting film due to its subject matter, it is ultimately unsatisfying because there is never any real development of the characters. Further, it is never revealed exactly why Hara stole the baby or what caused her to become unhinged – meaning that there is never any real depth to the film despite its heavy themes.

This film is best left for true fans of Greek cinema.


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