In the northern hemisphere, August is the dead of summer—a hazy, languorous season characterized by heat, the sound of insects, fleeting romance, listlessness. People idle in the summer; they sense the nascent tides of change yet are not quite ready to embrace them. Time, and too much of it, can lead to a searching if not somnambulant state.
During the month of August, Filmatique presents a series of three films that capture human existence in this airless season. Stergios Paschos' droll and dry Afterlov dissects a failed relationship when Nikos takes his ex-girlfriend captive in the Athens suburbs. In Guadalajara, a teenage boy struggles to maintain peace with his grandmother and write a punk song that doesn't so resemble his band's only other track in Samuel Kishi Leopo's tender coming-of-age Somos Mari Pepa. In Maryam Goormaghtigh's Before Summer Ends, a group of Iranian exiles roadtrip through the sun-soaked Midi in an effort to persuade one among them to stick it out in France, rather than returning home.
Comprised entirely of first films, Filmatique's Dog Days of Summer Series explores notions of love, adolescence, family, origins and identity—points of arrival in a season that, by virtue of its rhythms, leads us to encounter riddles within ourselves.
Afterlov, Stergios Paschos / Greece, 2016
Nikos is a 30-something musician with no money, no ambition and not much of a future. This particular summer he's been tasked with looking after a large villa in the Athens suburbs while his wealthy and successful friend is on vacation. In between poolside cocktails and playing with the dog, Nikos conceives of the perfect ruse— to invite his ex-girlfriend Sofia over, and lock her in the house until she can tell him why they broke up.
Capturing the doldrums of summer and the dangerous nostalgia of lost love, Afterlov examines the anatomy of a relationship between two people who can't live with or without each other. Stergios Paschos' debut feature premiered at Locarno and São Paulo; Thessaloniki, where it won the Artistic Achievement Award; and Transilvania, where it won the FIPRESCI prize.
Somos Mari Pepa, Samuel Kishi Leopo / Mexico, 2013
Alex is a lanky 16-year old living with his grandmother in Guadalajara. It's summer and without anything in particular to get him out of the house, Alex goes through the motions of finding a job and having his first sexual experience. He and three other friends also play in an amateur punk band called Mari Pepa. When a local contest is announced, the boys become determined to enter despite the fact that it requires two original songs and they only have one. As summer draws on and his grandmother becomes more fragile, Alex realizes that soon enough he is going to have to grow up and say goodbye.
Filmed in a loose and organic documentary style, Somos Mari Pepa captures the fears, doubts, and challenges of adolescence with startling naturalism and heart. Samuel Kishi Leopo's first feature premiered at Morelia, Berlin, Guanajuato and Miami, where it won a Special Mention.
Before Summer Ends, Maryam Goormaghtigh / France-Switzerland, 2017
Having completed his studies in Paris, Arash is at a crossroads. He hasn't managed to adapt to French life and has thus decided to return to Iran. His friends Hossein and Ashkan, however, prefer to live as exiles in France rather than face an uncertain future in their home country. Thus, they launch a last ditch effort to get Arash to change his mind, dragging him on a final trip across Southern France.
Capturing the milieu of exile, male friendship and the longing for home, Before Summer Ends offers a naturalistic portrait of the Iranian diaspora through the eyes of three young men. Maryam Goormaghtigh's first documentary feature premiered at Cannes' ACID; London BFI, where it won a Special Mention; and Zurich, where it won the Emerging Swiss Talent Award.