Against a black screen, the first words ring out like a prophecy: "I saw a great epidemic. A chaos. I’d scream, people, it’s not going well, great poverty is coming!" Yet this is no prophecy any more for the shepherds in the mountains of western Greece. Hunched in their dingy, dilapidated homes, they discuss spending their last Euros on cigarettes or beer, catalogue their debts and look for new lenders, all the time bemoaning the hopelessness of their situation. The deep lines criss-crossing their weather-worn faces recall the rugged scenery outside, whose rocky valleys are bisected by electric pylons and wreathed in unremitting fog. Although animals are their livelihood, it is they that bear the brunt of their owner’s frustrations, a casual, everyday violence waiting to explode.
Expertly straddling documentary and fiction, Sto lyko incorporates images of a savage beauty, non-professional actors cast in the local area and a keen eye for quotidian details to create a piercing evocation of rural despair all the more striking for its double-headed nature: at once a chilling snapshot of provincial Greece in crisis and an allegorical drama of elemental, apocalyptic power.
Greece / France 2013, 74 min
Christina Koutsospyrou, Aran Hughes