The 40th International Film Festival Rotterdam will open on Wednesday 26 January with the world première of the Greek film Wasted Youth, a fiction film also selected for the festival’s Tiger Awards Competition.
Wasted Youth is set during a hot summer day in Athens. A sixteen-year-old skater and his friends are amusing themselves in the big city. A middle-aged man struggles to take care of his family, through work that he hates and mounting stress. Their lives intersect in this contemporary portrait of the city of Athens and a society in crisis.
The film deliberately avoids factual accuracy, instead telling a fictional story. Wasted Youth is above all a film about the city of Athens, which is teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
Rutger Wolfson, director of International Film Festival Rotterdam on Wasted Youth: ‘Wasted Youth convinces from the very first moment until the very last second. As a ‘rough guide’ to today’s Athens, but also through two main characters, whose psychology and problems are completely real. Wasted Youth gives a subtle impression of the relationships between citizens and authorities, between individual freedoms and economic realities. Seemingly without effort, the filmmakers hold the audience’s attention throughout this stylish, gripping drama.’
In their statement on Wasted Youth, the two directors have said: ‘Some films are made with a sense of urgency. With such films, it is now or never. Wasted Youth is most certainly one of these films. We started without a script or a finance plan. The money came from private investors. We filmed in a documentary style, outside on the streets, with a small crew. The Vasilis character is very close to everyday reality in Athens: exhausted, confused, unable to make any progress, brimming with desperation and aggression. The boy, Harry, is a typical teenager. His life revolves around skateboarding, music, girls, arguing with his parents and having fun with his friends.’