This is the twenty-ninth film I have watched in "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2021-22", "A 33 week long challenge where the goal each week is to watch a previously unseen feature length film from a specified category." This is the 7th annual challenge, and my third time participating (my first year can be found at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2019-20", and last year's at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2020-21"). Week 29 is called "Greek Weird Wave Week":
"In the 1990s, younger Greek filmmakers began experimenting with iconographic motifs. In spite of, or because of, funding issues created by the financial crisis in the late 2000s, unique Greek films such as Yorgos Lanthimos's Dogtooth (2009), Panos H. Koutras' Strella (2009) and Athina Rachel Tsangari's Attenberg (2010) received international acclaim, constituting what has been called the "Greek Weird Wave".
Dogtooth, Attenberg and Alps are part of what some film critics, including Steve Rose of The Guardian, have termed the "Greek Weird Wave," which involves movies with haunting cinematography, alienated protagonists and absurdist dialogue. Other films mentioned as part of this "wave" include Panos H. Koutras's Strella (2009) and Yannis Economides's Knifer (2010)."
This week's challenge is to watch a previously unseen Greek Weird Wave film.
I'd only seen two films from the Greek Weird Wave, both directed by Vorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster and The Favourite), and I wasn't overly impressed. Pity had some interesting moments, mostly grounded in the performance by Giannis Drakopoulos as a lawyer with a young son and a wife in a coma. At first, Drakopoulos barely seems to be acting. He seems to be dealing with his grief by shutting down. When his wife remarkably recovers, instead of feeling better, the lawyer begins to miss the pity he received when she was in the hospital. He's at a loss, more so than when he was without his wife. At first, he lies to others, telling them she is still in a coma, and when that quits working, he resorts to extremes as he realizes he is addicted to grief and pity and sadness.
Pity is often quietly amusing, at least until things get extreme. The latter part of the movie feels a bit disconnected from what has set it up, and the lawyer's actions are unsettling in a way that is uncomfortable for the audience. Which may be the point, but it's not exactly a barrel of laughs watching it. I feel a bit awkward wishing that Pity was something different than intended, but in the end, my reaction to the film is a bit like the lawyer in the first part of the movie.