LONDON – A bleak and edgy debut from Ektoras Lygizos is the Greek submission for the best foreign language film category at the 86th Academy Awards next year.
Based on 1890 novel Hunger by the Norwegian Nobel Prize-winner and Nazi sympathizer Knut Hamsun, Boy Eating the Bird’s Food is a spartan work.
A grim take on the current vein of radical and experimental films in Greece, such as Dogtooth and Attenberg, the film picked up a special jury mention for its young star Yiannis Papadopoulos at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2012 where it played in competition.
With nods to Albert Camus and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the film’s bleak social realism and shocking scenes, not only of the young man eating bird seed but masturbating into his hand and then cautiously licking his semen, was described by The Hollywood Reporter film critic Stephen Dalton as a “bracingly austere viewing experience.”
The film has been seen as a response to the current economic crisis in Greece, where unemployment has reached 27 percent, and double that for young people, a figure that is higher than the U.S. jobless rate during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The production firm behind the film is Stefi Films, with Premium Films handling world sales and distribution.