(aka Blackmail Boy, Thanasis Papathanasiou & Michalis Reppas, Greece, 2003)


In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Greece produced a cycle of grunge movies that showed us the seamier sides of city and family lives – a necessary antidote to such sentimental entertainments as the popular A Touch of Spice (2003).


Oxygen joins Hardcore (Dennis Iliadis, 2004 – before his departure for the USA film scene) and Matchbox (Yannis Economides, 2002) in its relentless exposé of what one spokesperson for this movement has described as the “racism, sexism, chauvinism and materialism” that characterise contemporary Greek society.


In a predominantly naturalistic mode, Oxygen trails through a string of rundown apartments, following the complicated, bisexual trail of Christos (Yannis Tsimitselis) – a gormless young man ready and available for exploitation.


The plot trigger is an act of blackmail resulting from a shady real estate deal; violent melodrama eventually wells up. It is an intriguing and provocative, if not particularly accomplished, film.

© Adrian Martin October 2004

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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