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Sofia Exarchou’s ‘Animal’, the tourism industry at the pace of capitalism

The same section of Punto de Encuentro has received another very different proposal from Sofia Exarchou, who signs her second feature film with Animal. In the initial idea for this film, the key word was “anima, “soul” in Latin”, the director confessed, because the hotel entertainers who are the protagonists of the story are the soul of these tourist establishments, the ones who animate the leisure time of the clients and transmit their energy to them. The filmmaker realized that just by adding the final ‘l’ to the title, everything changed and the message was eloquent: it reflected “the atmosphere and the intrinsic violence that surrounds that environment”.

Sofia Exarchou confessed that her intention was “to show the capitalist system that we find everywhere”. “The tourism industry is powerful in Greece, but it has negative consequences because of the working conditions,” the director said. At first she was going to focus only on the hotel workers, but ended up reflecting this type of tourism as another feature of a capitalism that feeds an unstoppable spiral of consumption.

The leader of the cheerleaders, Kalia (played by Dimitra Vlagopoulou, winner of the best acting award at Locarno), is caught up in this “never-ending cycle,” realizing that she is destroying herself in endless days of work and nights of debauchery, but at the same time she needs to keep her job. All this to the rhythm of the animation choreographies and an extensive soundtrack that is of “great importance”, around forty songs that had to form a “credible, contemporary and very different styles” soundtrack.

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