Scorched: “Suntan” (2016)
A caveat: the following review may hint at details distressing to viewers who wish to experience a completely fresh viewing of the film.
Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ “Suntan” follows the disastrous trajectory of Kostis (Makis Papadimitriou), a lonely middle age doctor on the summer resort of Antiparos Island, whose suppressed emotional instincts are violently disrupted by the sudden appearance of Anna (Elli Tringou), a young pleasure seeking vacationer and her hedonistic coterie, who adopt the doctor as a kind of mascot and foil for the group’s male revelers’ irreverent but demeaning humor, the latter which is absently deflected by the doctor as he finds intense distraction when his previously blunted sex drive is reignited by what he mistakes as romantic designs by the carefree but careless Anna.
The film begins with Kostis’ off-season arrival and Papadimitropoulos’ camera charts the lonely details establishing his residency with extended and formal framings that emphasize the static solitude of his days. The last shot of this sequence is truly extraordinary in the economy in which it relays the loneliness of the character as a type of self-incarceration, where just outside of his window blink pathetic Christmas lights, mocking his disconnection with their generic intrusion of holiday cheer. This extended pre-title sequence quietly offers up a wealth of expository details which becomes useful in measuring the deterioration of Kostis’ stability with his abrupt foray from introversion to overly enthusiastic sociability signaling an eventual dark journey from an initial innocent romantic crush to frightening obsession.
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