ASTORIA – The Hellenic Films Society USA (HFS) New York Greek Film Expo continued on October 7 with the screening of Magnetic Fields at the Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in Astoria. The award-winning film, directed by Yorgos Gousis, is the official Greek submission for Best International Feature at the 2023 Oscars and won Best Film at the Hellenic Film Academy Awards in 2022, among others.
HFS President Jimmy DeMetro gave the welcoming remarks at the screening, noting that first time director Gousis is a comic book artist who wanted to “branch out” from his “lonely work” and do something that involved other people. Gousis made Magnetic Fields in Kefalonia with a budget of just 6000 euro, three actors, a single camera, and without a script – though they did have a story outline, DeMetro pointed out.
“They just improvised as they went along following the dictates of this story outline that they had created,” DeMetro said. “The film has won multiple awards, it premiered at Thessaloniki last year, and just recently at the Hellenic Film Academy Awards it won five, including best picture of the year, best actress, and best first-time director. It swept the awards ceremony, beating out much more expensive films, and now the crown of it all, it is the Greek submission to the Oscar competition for next year.”
As the audience applauded enthusiastically, DeMetro clarified that “it has not been nominated, each country submits a film, and hopefully this will get the attention of Academy members.”
The audience was impressed with the compelling Magnetic Fields which follows two strangers who meet by chance and forge an unexpected relationship. The single camera and the chemistry between the actors, created an intimate atmosphere that many big budget films lack. The characters, their reactions and interactions, as well as the seascapes and landscapes of the island keep the viewers riveted to this film from the opening scenes to the end. In their improvised dialogue, the actors Elena Topalidou and Antonis Tsiotsiopoulos are completely natural, with awkward silences and flashes of wit creating layers of meaning in this gem of a film. The scenes between Tsitsiopoulos and Nikos Spanidis as the local gravedigger showcase a level of realism and humor that audience members greatly appreciated. As the credits rolled, the audience applauded and many expressed the hope of seeing Magnetic Fields among the Oscar-nominated foreign language films.
The award-winning short film, Jackpot, was also screened before the feature film presentation, and also impressed the audience with dynamic characters in a moving and funny plot. Directed and with a screenplay by Dimitris Zapatinas, the film explores how no good deed goes unrewarded and features Petros Lagoutis as the grandson, Dinos Soutis as the grandfather, and Renos Haralambidis as the doctor in the nursing home where the grandfather resides.
The New York Greek Film Expo concludes Sunday, October 9 with screenings of The Fortune Teller at MoMI in Astoria and My Name is Eftyhia at Alpine Cinemas in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
More information and tickets are available online: https://hellenicfilmusa.org.