Suze and her Estonian husband moved from Amsterdam to a small island in the Netherlands. They now live a warm-hearted, slow-paced life with their bubbly six-year-old daughter. Until the day, Suze’s colorful, extravagant mother Helena pays them a visit after a long radio silence. When Helena informs Suze about the tumor in her head, Suze decides to start travel back and forth to the city to help her. Being a theatre actress all her life, Helena knows how to sweetly manipulate her daughter into her reliance. Suze seems powerless to this force and slowly relapses into compulsive behavior. Torn between her mother and her daughter, Suze’s disorder swiftly gets worse and forces her to make an emotional but liberating choice.
Hanna Van Vliet, Elsie de Brauw, Elin Koleci, Simeoni Sundja, Jade Olieberg
Gent Film Fest 2021, Thessaloniki IFF
Drijfzand, feature film, 113′, DCP, color, The Netherlands-Estonia-Greece
In a small eel-farming town in the west of Greece, two women live solitary lives while dreaming of getting away. Elisabeth is a once-ambitious policewoman forced to relocate from Athens ten years ago and now living a joyless, hung-over life; Rita is the quiet, mysterious sister of a lounge singer in the local disco. When a sudden death upsets the town and turns the local community upside-down, the two women who had been ignoring each other’s existence begin drifting towards each other. As the secrets hidden in the swamps begin to surface, they will have a chance to become each other’s saviours.
69th Berlin International Film Festival 2019 – Panorama
Festivals / Awards
Karlovy Vary IFF 2019, BFI London IFF 2019 – Dare, BiFan 2019 – Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (International Competition), FANTASIA International Film Festival 2019, Festival International du Film Policier de Beaune 2019 – Sang Neuf Competition, Istanbul IFF 2019, Crossing Europe EFF 2019, Transilvania IFF 2019, Bildrausch Filmfest Basel – Cutting Edge International Competition 2019, New Horizons IFF 2019, São Paulo IFF 2019, Ayvalik IFF, Haifa IFF, Bogota IFF, Thessaloniki IFF, Roma MedFesti 2019, Zagreb IFF 2019, Valencia IMFF 2019, Denver IFF, etc.
2 Hellenic Film Academy Awards (Best Director, Best Actress) and 12 nominations (Best Film, Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Costume Design, Music, Sound, Make-up, Effects).
“The latest film from Greek director Syllas Tzoumerkas stars Angeliki Papoulia in one of her best roles yet. Tzoumerkas does masterfully paint the stifling atmosphere of a godforsaken town where women’s dreams and potential have come to die. With a score that ventures into thriller territory, menacing zooms and eerily calm overheads shots, the film evokes a place that looks like a swamp ready to slowly engulf everything that comes near it.” -Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter
“A Blast director Syllas Tzoumerkas returns with an agitated, atmospheric and sometimes confounding exercise in modern Greek tragedy. Tzoumerkas’ latest invites comparisons to the loopier, trash-skirting genre outings of Herzog or Lynch, with the gradual unpeeling of layered madness and corruption in the sleepy working town of Missolonghi occasionally calling to mind an aggressively sunburned “Twin Peaks’”. -Guy Lodge, Variety
“*** A Lynchian psychodrama in the sun[…] A drumbeat of anxiety and impending violence thuds insistently from this opaque, disquieting spectacle from Greek film-maker Syllas Tzoumerkas”. -Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“***** While the film is saturated with Biblical quotes, icons of saints, and church choir songs, its form attends equally to the lowly human, animal, and nature. Pacifying all forms of life under the flag of future deliverance, the promise that each being will attain their most perfect form and self, The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea provides a convergence between religious submission and humanistic agency.” -Savina Petkova, Electric Ghost
“*** “Papoulia and Boudali give two visceral performances[…] The beautiful cinematography; close shots that capture the inner angst of these characters. The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea is visually compelling, and a show of great creative ambition from Tzoumerkas.” -Victoria Ferguson, The Upcoming
“The Miracle features two terrific female performances – one from co-writer Youla Boudali, the other from Angeliki Papoulia, [who] vibrates at an unnerving pitch that makes Nicole Kidman’s similarly styled characterisation in Destroyer look positively half-baked.[…] Tzoumerkas’s follow-up confirms that he’s a director of some brilliance and daring.” -Jonathan Romney, Screen
“***** Syllas Tzoumerkas’ third film is as slippery as the eels that form its backbone. It’s intense, brutal and surprising – full of strange asides and meandering paths, held together by the suffocating setting of Mesolongi, characterised here as a swampy Greek backwater. […] Tzoumerkas’ vision isn’t overly optimistic, but it’s also not fatalistic or moralising. Police brutality, sexual abuse and other acts of violence aren’t treated clinically, but they are handled as facts. The small-town mentality – “where potential goes to die”, as he’s described it – is largely universal. But the clash of cynically resigned humour against anti-authoritarian rebellion is distinctly Greek. Perhaps that’s the common cultural thread of the so-called ‘weird wave’ – to revel in human absurdity even while extending understanding to it.” -Alex Goldstein, One Room With A View
“**** The resolution of these constantly shuffling character arcs is dispatched with a clinical efficiency that recalls the unflinching pragmatism of Kieślowski’s A Short Film About Killing. Yet surprisingly, Tzoumerkas injects a soothing livener of optimism into the films final moments resulting in a restorative wave of catharsis. This is artistically satisfying, hermetically sealed cinema, with the confidence to embrace a wide range of genre elements and a first-rate thriller to boot. The grimly explicit sex, theological symbolism and wince-inducing violence will keep you on your toes. But ultimately, it is a masterful tale of redemption come full circle via the conduit of moral bankruptcy and how the oxygen of freedom can still exist in the ethical vacuum of oppression.” -Bradley Hadcroft, The People’s Movies
” Syllas Tzoumerkas masterfully mediates between ultimate tristesse and inner hardcore brutality. He has plenty of time for silence, then again the cut is energetic. Both of them do justice to the violence, which is suppressed, then erupted all the more violent. The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea is a pretty big genre movie (finally!)” – Barbara Wurm, TAZ
“There is much to admire in Tzoumerkas’ new film. Some of the early scenes, as well as some near the end of the movie, have an epic quality, thanks to Petrus Sjövik’s cinematography and Jean-Paul Wall’s orchestral score, as well as the dirty Athens setting and the corrupt beauty of the coastal town. Scenes of Elisabeth’s dreams, which overlap and mix with those of Rita’s, with their biblical imagery and unique visual style, transcend the film’s primary themes and add a mystical layer. Dedicated performances, especially Papoulia’s and Boudali’s, provide a powerful, dramatic gravity” Vladan Petkovic, Cineuropa
”Not since Gene Hackman’s Jimmy Doyle in The French Connection have we seen a nastier cop than the one embodied by Angeliki Papoulia.’ – Jörg Gerle, Filmdienst
“The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea, set in the inhospitable surroundings of a sun-parched Messolongi, is a metaphysical thriller loaded with biblical references, an unsettling and disturbing meditation on the concept of paradise featuring two women in profound existential crisis: Elisabeth, (a master Angeliki Papoulia) a disgraced policewoman confined in the province by her superiors following an unfortunate anti-terrorist operation; and Rita (the brave Youla Boudali, also co-screenwriter), a painful figure of a martyr besieged by visions of a mystical background. Tzoumerkas’ cinema is one that’s not afraid of risk or ridicule, one which in fact, has the clear intent of forcing the limits of both the police genre and the auteur film genre, seducing with the skill of its performers and its disquieting aesthetic choices that are never banal. After Homeland (2010) and A Blast (2014), The Miracle of the Sargasso is the third – and more complex – chapter of Tzoumerkas’ ideal trilogy on contemporary Greece.”. – Massimo Lechi, Il Ragazzo Selvaggio
Meet the Filmmakers – Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Syllas Tzoumerkas
Teddy TV – Berlin International Film Festival Syllas Tzoumerkas & Angeliki Papoulia
Tο Θαύμα της Θάλασσας των Σαργασσών | To Thávma tis Thálassas ton Sargassón, feature film, 120′, DCP, color, Greece-Germany-Netherlands-Sweden 2019
Titus Kreyenberg, Ellen Havenith, Olle Wirenhed
Co-producer Film I Väst
Associate producer ZDF/ARTE
Commissioning editor SFI
Co-produced by unafilm, PRPL, Kakadua Films, Film I Väst, ZDF/ARTE, ERT, NOVA
With the support of
Eurimages, Greek Film Centre, Film und Medienstiftung NRW, Netherlands Film Fund, Swedish Film Institute, DFFF, Netherlands Film Production Incentive, Media Programme, Prefecture of Western Greece, Geitonas Eels
World Sales New Europe Film Sales
Distribution Greece (StraDa Films), Germany (Real Fiction), Poland (Against Gravity), Croatia (Kino Mediteran), MUBI, etc.
Panayiota gets for the first time a job as a cleaner in an attempt to support her family. While at her work environment she faces a ruthless system of exploitation, she spends the happiest period of her so far dull life. But this is not to last for long as the first layoffs are to arrive soon.
Festivals / Awards
Haifa IFF 2018, Warsaw IFF 2018 (Best Film, F.I.PRES.CI. Award, Young F.I.PRES.CI. Award – 1st/2nd Film Competition), Thessaloniki IFF 2018 (Best Actress Award – Marisha Triantafyllidou), Rabat IFF 2018, Belgrade IFF 2018, Festival du Cinema Méditerranéen de Bruxelles 2018 (Best Film Press Award and Prix Special du Jury), Les Arcs IFF 2018, Göteborg IFF 2019, Bengaluru IFF 2019, Vannes EFF 2019, Kosmorama Trondheim IFF 2019, Sofia IFF 2019 (Best Balkan Film Award), Crossing Europe EFF 2019, Espoo Cine 2019, New York Greek Film Expo 2019, Festival de Cinema de Cinq Continents, Molodist Kiev IFF 2019, LA Greek FF 2019 (Best Actress Award), etc.
3 Hellenic Film Academy Awards – Best Debut Director, Best Actress (Marisha Triantafyllidou), Best Supporting Part Actress (Maria Filini) – Also nominated for Best Film, Best Script and Best Make-up.
“A well-observed study of a woman’s unlikely liberation. The socioeconomic turmoil of contemporary Greece is distilled into the simple yet effective story of one woman who finds gainful employment as a professional cleaner in Her Job, which marks a promising feature debut for writer-director Nikos Labôt. Bolstered by star Marisha Triantafyllidou’s subtly touching turn and told in a straightforward, realistic manner that at times recalls the Dardenne brothers, the film reveals how one of the most basic and least valued vocations can still mean the world for someone struggling to support a family and, even more so, to find a sense of self-worth.” — Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
“Triantafyllidou expresses Panayiota’s evolving strength of spirit and independence in the tiniest of measures; a shift in her countenance or an adjustment in how she carries herself. It’s a Herculean turn by the actress, made all the more so because you can hardly see the muscles she’s using. Behind the camera, Labôt is equally modulated, unfolding the story with patient care across a slim eighty-nine minutes, and never betraying his tone for a grand finale of redemption and lesson-learning. Witnessing the spark of confidence come to life inside Panayiota, and the small rebellions that follow will leave your eyes stung with tears by the note-perfect ending. Her Job is not just about the dignity of work, but what the gift of employment can do to the dignity of a person .” — Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist
” **** Her Job takes a sensitive look at how work and autonomy can change a person’s outlook. Triantafyllidou’s performance is gentle and nuanced, and her expressive face is often heartbreaking. Director Labôt’s first feature beautifully meditates on the mundane, and is an excellent reminder that all work can be meaningful.” — Michelle Da Silva, NOW
” *** A lively and empathetic journey.” — Yulia Kuzischina, ION cinema
“Thanks to Marisha Triantafyllidou’s organic and absorbing performance, Panayiota’s example sheds new light on the struggle for female empowerment in a toxic environment. When her initial feeling of financial ‘independence’ threatens to cause gender roles within the family to be swapped, the balance in the former pseudo-tranquil household is undone. At this point, the fight for personal autonomy becomes a battle for survival. A survival that can only be achieved through self-liberation. Nikos Labôt delivers a strong drama on the aftermath of the Greek financial crisis and the need for female empowerment in a dislocated and wounded society” — Vassilis Economou, Cineuropa
Les Arcs International Film Festival Nikos Labot and Marisha Triantafyllidou
Η Δουλειά της | I Douliá tis, feature film, 89′, DCP, Color, Greece-France-Serbia 2018
Homemade Films, Sister Productions, Sense Production
With the support of
Greek Film Centre, ERT, the CNC and the GFC – French-Greek Co-production Fund, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères et du Développement International, Institut Français, Film Center Serbia, Cineventure 3, SEE Cinema Network
32-year-old Erkan moves back to his family’s upper-middle class house in Izmir, after a year of misery caused by unemployment and a bitter divorce. Having no plans for the future, he befriends a group of loafers. His aimless drift takes an unexpected turn, when a terrible smell that comes from the gulf starts to spread over the city.
A post modern theater adaptation of a Greek tragedy takes place in a central theater of Athens. Like every night, the guests take their seats and the play begins. Suddenly, the lights on stage go out. Seven young people, carrying guns, stand up from the audience and come up on stage. They introduce themselves as the Chorus of the tragedy and they invite people from the audience to participate on stage. Gradually, reality and fiction blend. The audience doesn’t realize if this is part of the play. The play will come to its end at the usual time. Until then art will be interrupted by life.
Venice International Film Festival 2015 – Orizzonti Competition
Festivals / Awards
Torino IFF 2015, Mumbai IFF 2015, Thessaloniki IFF 2015, Kolkata IFF 2015, Goa IFF 2015, Palm Springs IFF 2016, Istanbul IFF 2016, Vilnius IFF 2016, Cyprus Film Days 2016, Catania FF 2016, LAGFF 2016, Pula IFF 2016, Sarajevo IFF 2016, Festival of Film Critics Camera Action 2016, Skopje IFF 2016, Sao Paulo IFF 2016, Hellas FilmBox FF – New Vision Award, etc.
Best First Film Director Hellenic Film Academy Award 2016
“Interruption is one of the most intelligent films I have seen lately and Yorgos Zois is one of the most unique voices in European Cinema today.” — Ruben Östlund
“Interruption takes Greek myths to tantalizing levels. My reaction was visceral and then I read up on Oresteia to see how amazing and genius Interruption really is. 10/10 — Bruce Fessier, USA TODAY
“Or we can bring to the extreme provocation of Zois, and see an image that is no longer the sign of a representation that does not belong to us but a reflection of an obscure mirror, as if the image was a black hole that attracts itself to the viewer who gets lost within it, until each of us becomes figure, ghost, opaque stain in black: and then the question that we should ask before the screen is no longer ‘what we see is real?’, but ‘are we really us real?'” — Michele Sardone, Film parlato
“Watched Interruption by Yorgos Zois, really interesting Meta take on Oresteia.” — Romain Gavras
“Interruption proposes an ensemble of interesting actors, helped greatly by the complexity of their ambiguous identity on stage. Alexandros Vardaxoglou plays the god-like director, but his identity will soon evolve, stressing again and again the unpredictability of Zois’ beautifully layered screenplay. In other parts, Maria Kallimani, Alexia Kaltsiki, Christos Stergioglou and Maria Filini have their moments of glory in front of Yannis Kanakis’ fluid camera, which uses darkness and light to blur the boundaries between the stage and the audience” — Stefan Doboiou, Cineuropa
“There is something paradoxical in the film that is such a clever metaphor of contemporary world that uses a form associated with ancient times. There is something bizarre in the fact, that it’s piece of art suspended between theater and film, stressing fakeness of the world portrayed on the screen and it’s still talking about social moods so close to ours. Despite all those walls of distance built from Greek dramas, theatrical environment and demanding narration, we are in the middle of our world, observed so accurately by the director. We are watching a film weaved from wise message, unusual form and dare-devil way of storytelling.” — Urszula Lipińska, Stark Magazine
Co-producers Theodora Valenti-Pikrou, David Danesi, Victoria Sankina, Filippos Marmoutas, Panos Papadopoulos, Jean-Yves Rousseaux, Sylvain Fage
Pan Entertainment, EZ Films, JDP in association with Nukleus Film, NOVA, Marni Films, Cinephase, Digital District, Post Faust Ltd, Prosenghisi Ltd, Squaredsquare Films, Homemade Films with the support of the Greek Film Centre, Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image Animée, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères et du Développement International, Institut Français, HAVC, TorinoFilmlab, CNC Award – Cinelink Sarajevo Film Festival, Piraeus Bank and OPAP
Maria is running away on the highway. She is alone in her roaring SUV. Behind her, fire and a case full of money. In front of her, the hopeless vastness of the motorway. Her crazy, accelerating course will stop at nothing.
Only a day before she was a caring mother, a loving wife, a responsible daughter. Today she has gone rogue: she is determined to sweep away everything she has ever cared for. Maria’s tragic tale of ascent to redemption is narrated through bits of the present that become tangibly interwoven with fragments of the past, creating a dazzling and devastating mural of contemporary Greece.
Locarno International Film Festival 2014 – International Competition
Festivals / Awards Sarajevo IFF 2014 – International Competition, BFI London IFF 2014 – Dare, Rotterdam IFF 2015 – Limelight, Karlovy Vary IFF 2015 – Critics’ Choice: VARIETY’s 10 Directors to Watch, A.F.I. American Film Institute – European Film Showcase 2015, Hamburg Filmiest 2014, Seattle IFF 2015 – New Directors, São Paulo IFF 2014 – Nuevos Diretores, Hong-Kong IFF 2015, Joenju IFF 2015 – Fallen Myths – A Tribute to Greek New Wave, Athens IFF 2015 – Best Debut by an Actress Award – Maria Filini, Prishtina IFF 2016 – F.I.PRES.CI. Award, Tallinn Black Nights 2014, New Horizons 2014, Kolkatta IFF 2015, Festival de Cinéma Européen des Arcs 2014, Istanbul IFF 2015, Taipei IFF 2015, Haifa IFF 2015, Crossing Europe EFF 2015, Festival Cinematografico Internacional del Uruguay 2015, Espoo Cine 2015, Otranto FFF 2015 – Critics’ Prize, Ljubljuana IFF 2015, Tofifest 2015,, Luxembourg City IFF 2015, Cyprus Film Days 2015, Thessaloniki IFF 2015, Lichter Filmfest 2015, Rome Independent IFF, Marfa IFF 2015, Mucas IFF 2015, This Human World IFF 2015, etc.
“A black, bleak, urgently contemporary film. The frantic, unsettling and intriguing record of a woman’s journey, Syllas Tzoumerkas’ charged personal diatribe against an economic system seemingly designed first to make people, and then to break them.”
— Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter
“Syllas Tzoumerkas’ striking soph feature tackles Greece’s ongoing financial crisis with aggressive gusto.”
— Guy Lodge, VARIETY
“A punchy, difficult, allegorically urgent Greek tragedy. In A Blast, a narrative of personal liberation becomes a political allegory of powerful pessimism. Maria, like her country, may escape the shackles of unfair debt and struggle and poverty, but she can only do it by outrunning her pursuers, leaving a destabilized family behind and eventually facing the future in a state of staggering aloneness. (…) Tzoumerkas refuses to portray Maria as anything so uncomplicated as a victim. Maria is explicitly a woman – wife, daughter, mother, sister – and some of the scenes of most urgent, shocking power come from quieter moments when she simply, clearly negates or repudiates one of those prescribed roles”
— Jessica Kiang, Indiewire & the Playlist
“If you ever wanted your own everyday saga of interpersonal collapse to be interpreted as a sexually heated, hyperkinetic, breathless action-thriller, then chances are it would look very much like A Blast, which takes all of the outwardly mundane rites of family life and refracts, intensifies and heightens them by seizing primarily just upon the peaks and nadirs, shifting back and forth in time to create an expressionist portrait of marital strife and psychological agitation that is more concerned with incendiary impact than polite plotting. The result often feels like A Woman Under the Influence as reinterpreted by early Nicolas Roeg.”
— Travis Crawford, Fandor magazine
“Set against the volatile backdrop of the collapse of the Greek economy, Syllas Tzoumerkas’ freewheeling and full-on drama is a shrill expression of anger, driven forcefully and with a certain fearlessness by a striking lead performance by Angeliki Papoulia as a free-spirited woman who reaches the end of her tether. Syllas Tzoumerkas keeps the film tense and edgy as it spirals towards a moody almost existential ending.”
— Mark Adams, Screen Daily
“Tzoumerkas directs each scene to its boiling point, resulting to montage sequences that stay in mind for long. Angeliki Papoulia, one of the most fearless European actresses, plays Maria without emergency breaks.”
— Oliver Koever, Der Spiegel
“Filmmaker Syllas Tzoumerkas has condensed the Greek crisis into a superb drama of one woman’s journey of self-discovery. Tzoumerkas’ wild, anarchic style reminds us of the young Fatih Akin with his depiction of a society driven „against the wall“ by its own parental generation.”
— D.Kothenschulte, Frankfurter Rundschau
“An angry film that speaks its heart”.
— Joost Booren, De Filmkrant
“A uniquely intelligent, unprecedented portrait that reveals the moods, secrets and deep divisions that run in societies in times of crisis. There has never been such a powerful film about it before”.
— Janusz Wroblewski, Polityka
“The most interesting thing in Tzoumerkas’ work is also the most universal: the rejection of illusion. We don’t really know what to do next, still it’s worth opening our eyes, regardless the price. ”
— Pawel T. Felis, Wyborcza
Homemade Films, unafilm, PRPL, Bastide Films, Greek Film Center, Nederlands Film Fonds, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Pan Entertainment, Graal S.A., Marni Films, Mamoko Entertainment, Prosenghisi Ltd, Movimento Film production, in collaboration with ZDF/ARTE, with the support of the MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Nipkow Programm, Eurimages co-production development award, Cinelink – Sarajevo Film Festival
Distribution / Theatrical Releases
Greece (Strada), the Netherlands (Filmfreak), Germany (Real Fiction), Poland (Against Gravity), Denmark (Ost for Paradis), North Macedonia (KT Films), Switzerland (Spot on Distribution), Australia (Bonsai Films), Iceland (Bioparadis), USA (Indiepix), etc.
The members of carnival float crew Paradise, dressed up as Adam and Eve, exotic birds, creepy crawly snakes and juicy red apples, take part in their local carnival, dancing to samba and techno under the drizzling rain.
Marianna returns to Greece on a whim to surprise her boyfriend, secretly plotting to stay with him forever, while Nikos is using the carnival as an excuse to confess his love to his unsuspecting boss. Eugenia hesitates to tell her daughter about her clandestine romance with the much younger carnival crew leader, while Ilias has no qualms about begging his estranged wife to come home. In the midst of carnival madness, four duets are staking their claim on their own private Paradise…
Homeland is the story of a country and a family in free fall. Three generations of a family (the 50s generation, the one growing up during the restoration of Democracy in the 70s, and the generation of today) clash irrevocably over an adoption they decided to make 20 years ago.
Festivals / Awards
Athens IFF (Best 1st Film Director Award), Tallinn Black Nights IFF 2010, Goteborg IFF 2011, Monaco CIFF (Best Director Award), Istanbul IFF 2011, Karlovy Vary IFF 2011, Voices IFF 2011, Era New Horizons IFF 2011, FIC Valdivia 2011, Manaki Brothers ICFF 2011, Mar del Plata IFF 2011, etc.
5 Awards by the Hellenic Film Academy including Best 1st Film Director.
“This is a film that dares to interweave a heavy individual tale with social evolution, a film that is challenging in terms of both art and politics, and that on top of all this manages to maintain high artistic qualities. Doesn’t that sound like exactly the sort of thing that nagging writers are always going on about? Viola! The feature debut of young Syllas Tzoumerkas has it all. It tells the story of a family tragedy afflicting three generations of a Greek family, while interweaving the nation’s history from the junta years of the 1960s, past the leftist 1970s and right up to the student revolts of today. Several aspects of Greek society are in for a beating; the patriarchy, the family and sanctimonious politics. You have to pay attention – as there are some chronological leaps here – but the viewer who stays alert will be richly rewarded.”
— Gunnar Bolin, Sveriges Radio