Kala azar is a zoonotic disease that has spread widely through southern Europe’s dog population. Given that fact, visual artist and filmmaker Janis Rafa’s haunting addition to the "Greek Weird Wave" that gave us Dogtooth and Chevalier has a retrospective prescience - the film premiered at Rotterdam in January, before the worldwide pandemic hit - that makes it a perfect fit for these trying times. The drama is as feral, troubling, and strange as its two lead characters: Pinelopi and Dimitris (Pinelopi Tsilika and Dimitris Lalos), a highly sexed couple whose job it is to scour the Greek countryside, pick up the corpses of dead pets, and return them, cremated and stored in urns, to their bereaved owners within a day. It is a job that has, in Rafa’s words, "infected" them…
Not a minute goes by without a new image that is visually fresh, fascinating, or even extraordinary. The camera layers texture upon texture, dialogue is minimal, and the point of view shifts between human and animal. This is a disturbing work that stares morbidity straight in the eye and doesn’t flinch.
Includes an interview with Director: Janis Rafa
Pinelopi Tsilika, Dimitris Lalos, Michelle Valley, Tassos Rafailidis, Oğuz Han Kaya
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Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.
Janis Rafa’s body of work includes video-essays, sculptures, environmental installations and most recently medium and feature length films. Over the past decade she has exhibited across Europe, and completed residencies at the Rijksakademie and the Kunstlerhaus Villa Concordia. Her work takes place in a cryptic cinematic world on the margins of the urban; dead and living, human and non-human coexist in an accord of dream and sensuality.