There’s something dispiriting about the kind of hand-holding film-making that doesn’t trust the audience to follow a story – it suggests a fundamental lack of faith in the language of cinema. Which is why, perhaps, the teasingly elliptical, oblique storytelling of Greek writer/director Jacqueline Lentzou is such a pleasure. Her feature debut, Moon, 66 Questions, is the work of a film-maker who is already supremely confident in her craft.
Showing the reunion between a young woman, Artemis (a fascinating and mercurial Sofia Kokkali), and her long-estranged father Paris (Lazaros Georgakopoulos), the picture’s impulsive, unfettered approach mirrors Artemis’s erratic nature. Her age is not specified but, returning after a long absence to Athens because of a sudden deterioration in her father’s health, Artemis seems to regress to the teenager whose relationship with him was characterised by distance and a sullen restraint on both sides. There is a space between them even now. “Does it hurt,” asks Artemis, reaching towards her father’s hand. But she doesn’t quite touch him, her fingers hover just above his. There’s a sense of remove in the way the camera is used – a whole scene is shot through the distorting lens of a magnifying glass. Later, when a physiotherapist shows Artemis how to support her father, their bodies, forced into physical contact, are rigid with discomfort.
Bored, slightly rebellious and working through her own destructive issues, Artemis explores her father’s space until she finally stumbles upon a secret that explains his reticence. As the enigmatic, tarot-inspired title suggests, questions remain, but Lentzou leaves us with the sense that this long-stalled relationship can finally move forward.