An... {What If} (2012) Review

director: Christoforos Papakaliatis

writer:  Christoforos Papakaliatis

starring:  Christoforos Papakaliatis, Marina Kalogirou, Maro Kontou and Maria Solomou

genre:  Drama | Romance

released:  November 29, 2012 (Greece)

In the film debut of writer, director and star Christoforos Papakaliatis. He manages to meet all of my personal and negative expectations by not straying away from his cliched, amateur and plagiarized style of film-making. If you've haven't seen in general many films in your life. You would probably believe Papakaliatis is a visionary director with a very majestic film-making talent, but you would be wrong to rush to that conclusion. As his jump from Greek TV to film is nothing more than a pure ripoff of a older film and further proof of his shady film-making techniques on winning audiences over. Ladies and gentlemen the worst thing Greece currently has to show in cinema, Christoforos Papakaliatis.

story: 

Dimitris (Christoforos Papakaliatis) is a young director living in Athens during the heavy hit economic recession in Greece. One night he is plagued by the decision of taking his dog out for a walk or not. This decision will lead to two possible timelines and futures for him. Both in the end will prove that sadness and loss, but also hope will always be apart of life no matter the different choices we make. 

The first timeline for Dimitris is the one where he meets Christina (Marina Kalogirou) early on and forms a relationship and family with her. In the second timeline is where he will little by little have his world torn apart, but will be then lucky enough to meet the love of his life once again. 

thoughts: 

Saying that a filmmaker is a phony and a hack are pretty harsh words, but they are words well deserved of Papakaliatis. Mainly because the film's plot structure of two timelines has already been done before with the film "Sliding Doors" starring Gwyneth Paltrow. Surely Papakaliatis must have seen the film he ripped off, but nonetheless cons unsuspecting audiences into feeling mystified with his "original" plot of how different fates can be, when something so little can change it all.

Moving away from the stolen plot gimmick of two timelines. We continue to his film-making choices that feel as if the film was made by an advertising marketeer and not by an artist. This is evident with the choices he makes throughout the film and heavily with the films soundtrack. Where he puts in a lot of radio friendly songs, coupled with Italian "Amore" style music, that feel if they came out of a Woody Allen or Nora Ephron film. Plus putting in songs that are directly taken from other films such as "As Time Goes By" from "Casablanca" and finally Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A Major: Allegretto that is from the big finale of "The Kings Speech". Amazing that he didn't think film aficionados wouldn't catch all this.

In addition to the soundtrack, his amateurish style dosen't stop there. It continues with his attempt at trying to be a cinematic poet with the over-lapse of time. Where the characters change clothes and it suddenly snows to signify the change of time and seasons. On top of that the unnecessary and bizarre sex scene that shows off various sex positions, movements and Papakaliatis fingering techniques in all the wrong places. Yep, Papakaliatis fingering the mouth of a woman is supposedly erotic and worth audiences time and money.

Additionally the most annoying part of the film is by far the old ass married couple that act as narrators. Nagging and inter-cutting throughout the whole film. Blocking any chance or sense of development of plot and character. Stealing from us any valuable time from actually paying attention to the film. Which leads us to the biggest problem the film has, it's lack of connective tissue. It dosen't provide enough time to both of its timelines. Resulting in big dramatic scenes that feel awkward, out of place, sudden and almost always without explanation. Their is no build up to these scenes or any sense of origin of emotion or behavior on the part of these characters.

It cant be that the whole film is made out of scenes of conflict and arguing. This great romance that is being sold to young couples is actually devoid of romance and is selling a narrow point of view of bickering, fighting and depression amongst couples. It's actually the worst depiction of Greek love and youth. Showing off Greek stereotypes of men being "malakes" (jerks) and women being "hlithies" (stupid).

verdict: 

Everything within this film is done in a pseudo artistic/auteur manner to show off to unsuspecting Greek mass audiences a romance that involves the impactful change of character and fate. Filmmaker Papakaliatis is the con-artist of Greek cinema and previously TV. He has bamboozled audiences into thinking what he does is fresh, original and inspirational. And in these rough times of a Greek & European recession. One person the cinematic community wouldn't mind in losing his job is Christoforos Papakaliatis. 

Personal Rating:

1 Stars.jpg

review by Paul Katsaros

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