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Worlds Apart

[…] It is clearly too cheap a recipe that really has nothing to do with Greek culture and is simply an obvious expression of a Hollywoodian pop romance.

[…] Papakaliatis gives the Greek people what they want to hear, which is nothing but what the populist politicians and journalists have already tried to instil in their minds: a very moderate anti-racism, hatred against Europe, and irresponsible sentimentalism.

Three love stories that speak of three almost impossible connections between Greek and non-Greek people. Worlds apart not only shows the disastrous material consequences of an economic crisis, but it focuses on the social troubles it has created involving interpersonal relationships. In ancient Greek tradition, the stranger (xenos) is sacred, but this value seems now completely lost. According to Chrisopher Papakaliatis (who plays one of the main six characters in the movie), it is only the force of romantic love that is able to overcome this cultural decadence. It is clearly too cheap a recipe that really has nothing to do with Greek culture and is simply an obvious expression of a Hollywoodian pop romance.

Worlds Apart is overtly Hollywoodian, thanks also to its constant moralizing attitude. Each scene in this movie seems to want to judge, to draw a clear line between good and evil. To this respect, we cannot help but raise some questions. For instance: why the character Farris, through whom the film approaches the hot question of migrants, is a Christian Syrian and not a Muslim like the majority of migrants in Greece? Why the “bad” migrants that traffic in weapons and create trouble are the only black people we see in the movie? The superposition of the two characters of Giorgios and Elise – the former being a sentimental, irrational and weak personality, and the latter an individualist with a cold and rational personality – with, respectively, the poor, innocent Greece and the rich, arrogant northern Europe, is simply a ridiculous cliché. It becomes a plea for irresponsibility and victimisation, letting separation and hatred grow in Europe. Finally, why should the dream of a Greek housewife, embodied by Maria, be reduced to just having access to a large commercial centre and buying expensive products, thus consecrating the worse consumerist habit?

I fear that the answer to these questions is quite simple and it appears in any recent opinion pool. Papakaliatis gives the Greek people what they want to hear, which is nothing but what the populist politicians and journalists have already tried to instil in their minds: a very moderate anti-racism, hatred against Europe, and irresponsible sentimentalism. In Greece, the box office exploded when this movie came out, and Papakaliatis assured himself a very profitable success. Worlds Apart is a highly commercial product of the worse species, because in every scene it presupposes a dumb spectator. Hopefully, the last of the three stories brings some humour to the audience. Maria Kavoyianni and J.K. Simmons provide also the best acting performances in these scenes, but the shy ironic openings are destroyed by the immanent presence of an overdramatic soundtrack that only loads and exaggerates the incredible amount of clichés that make up the movie. More than with a TV-film, we often have the impression that we are watching a cheap advertising spot for Greek tourism or a political pamphlet. Perhaps, more than Hollywood, Bollywood is the new succeeding product for cinema theatres? Be it Hollywood or Bollywood, with Worlds Apart, Christopher Papakaliatis signs the farewell movie to Europe. I can only answer his proposal, or better, I must answer to it: «No, thanks».

Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore
First published: January 31, 2017

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