Suntan (2016) Review

Well made…but tough to watch in some ways.

by Martin Hafer

When the story begins, Kostis (Makis Papadimitriou) has come to the Greek island of Antiparos to become the town’s doctor.  It’s the middle of winter and the place is quiet and lonely.  However, each summer the place is swamped with tourists…wild, young and fun-loving tourists.  And the quiet town becomes a hive of clubs, clothing optional beaches, sex and drinking.  As for Kostis, he’s a dull, emotionally constricted middle-aged man and seems out of his element when a group of crazy young people arrive in his office after a minor accident.  One of them, Anna (Elli Tringou), seems to have taken an inexplicable liking for the dull doctor and she invites him to join them at the beach some time. 

Soon, Kostis joins this same group at the beach but he looks very much out of place…and you wonder why they like him.  While most of the bathers are young, tanned and naked, he’s a pasty bald man…wearing a lot of clothes on a clothing optional beach.  He certainly is a fish out of water, so to speak.  Later, when they head to the clubs, he goes along…and, once again, seems really out of place and awkward.  It really seems like Kostis is trying to live his 20s all over again…but is ill-equipped for this wild life.  And, in some ways, it seems as though he is totally alone…even though he’s surrounded by people.

Directed by Argyris Papadimitropoulos
Cast Makis Papadimitriou, Elli Tringou, Dimi Hart
Release Date 13 June 2017
Martin's Grade: C+

Over the following days, Kostis goes out bathing and partying with this same crazy group of young people again and again.  However, it becomes obvious that although he hangs with this group he really is only interested in Anna.  She is interested…but only in a fleeting way…but Kostis misinterprets this for love.  Soon, he’s obsessed and eventually this obsession leads to a complete disintegration of his life.  This disintegration is tough to watch…and the picture is unflinching.

This is a hard movie to categorize.  It certainly is not a comedy.  And, while it seems light and cheerful initially, later it becomes a very dark and ugly sort of story.  This does not mean that the film is badly made….the acting is quite nice and the story engaging.  But it also is a tough sell for the average viewer.  Of course the film has a lot of nudity…such is life on many beaches in Greece.  But it also ends on a very violent and disturbing note…and that I you should know that the film ends with a rather vivid rape scene.  It could conjure up memories of past victimization and is a bit tough to watch…so viewers should beware.  Overall, this is a well made film that becomes tougher and tougher to watch.  Very well made, it manages to convey a lot with a minimal amount of dialog.  It certainly is interesting….but also is not for all tastes.

Suntan will be released on the Strand Releasing label on 13 June 2017


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