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Fulfill Wanderlust With Dives into Ocean and Greek Film Fests

Michael Fox


San Francisco Greek Film Festival | Tailor | Sonia Liza Kenterman

While I was tempted by all the aforementioned films, I opted for Tailor, a tender drama with a droll veneer. The film is precise and attentive to every detail and composition—reflecting its meticulous protagonist—yet fastidious about avoiding conventional plot turns and pat interpretations. Nikos is a middle-aged bachelor who’s labored in the shadow of his demanding father, sewing custom suits for discerning men. But that chapter is ending: The clientele is dying off, the bank is foreclosing on the business and health issues are forcing the father to reluctantly relinquish the business.

Dimitris Imelios, who plays Nikos, looks like mid-career Robert De Niro with a hangdog expression. A whiz with his hands, he builds a portable cart and takes his cloths and tools to the streets of Athens, where he unexpectedly stumbles onto a potential new market: women, notably mothers of brides in need of dresses.

Tailor operates on a curious yet accessible wavelength that has the effect of understating its themes of quiet mid-life desperation, stifled creativity and parental acceptance. To put it another way, the premise of Sonia Liza Kenterman’s feature directorial debut has built-in commercial potential that she consistently downplays, sidesteps or ignores. You have to respect that kind of integrity.

It even features a romantic subplot and a precocious child—a mother and daughter, as it happens—that pan out in ways we expect and ways we don’t. The film is both exquisitely made and willfully offbeat, so see it before an enterprising Hollywood producer remakes it—with a younger De Niro, or, heaven help us, Gerard Butler—and trades its low-key charms for syrupy sentimentality.

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