Xenia

DIRECTOR: Panos Koutras

Following the death of their mother, two half-Albanian brothers—15-year-old Dany, a spunky twink with a pet bunny rabbit, and his straight older brother, Odysseas, who has the singing voice of an angel—embark on a surreal road trip to find their estranged Greek father in this alternately poignant and bold fable. One of the highlights of both the Cannes and Toronto International Film Festivals, Xenia takes a wholly original and supremely entertaining look at the complex bonds of family, the strength of having a shared history, and the importance of knowing where you come from. Its sincerity, however, is brilliantly mixed with touches of the absurd (think Donnie Darko, Wild at Heart, or The Doom Generation). Some of the obstacles the brothers run into, both real and fantastical, include an American Idol-esque singing competition; choreographed, underwear-clad Italian disco musical numbers; a beautiful abandoned hotel in the middle of a forest (the titular “Xenia”); and a giant talking rabbit. All the while, the film remains grounded in the brothers’ very real emotional bond, their playful chemistry, and their shared challenge of trying to a place where they belong even in a country that makes them feel like outsiders. Emerging writer-director Panos H. Koutras (Strella) co-wrote Xenia, which won the prize for Best Queer Film at the Chicago International Film Festival, with fellow Greek filmmaker Panayotis Evangelidis (The Life and Death of Celso Junior, Frameline36).

— Joe Bowman

In Greek with English subtitles.
AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F139

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