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.
Angeliki Papoulia, Vassilis Doganis, Maria Filini, Themis Bazaka, Yorgos Biniaris, Makis Papadimitriou
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
Syllas Tzoumerkas – Sarajevo IFF
Feature film, 83′, DCP, Color, Greece-Germany-Netherlands-Italy 2014.