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A Silver Lion For Miss Violence

Alexandros Avranas’s “Miss Violence” picked up best director and best male actor prizes. Following—too closely—in the footsteps of Giorgos Lanthimos’s 2009 Cannes success “Dogtooth,” Avranas’s domestic abuse drama takes the same bleak detachment to another level as a family slowly reveals the horror of violent and sexual abuse that lies at its heart. Although I despised the film as an exploitative exercise in style and something of a cynical cash-grab given the international success of Lanthimos’s earlier film, I have no argument with the awards. “Miss Violence” is well directed, and Themis Panou, as the father, gives evil a convincingly placid face of quiet humility. But as George Orwell once wrote, “even the best wall in the world deserves to be pulled down if it surrounds a concentration camp,” and Avranas has produced an expertly tooled machine of bleak, despairing sadism.Avranas said in an interview that the film was based on a true story in Germany about a grandfather who prostituted his daughter and his granddaughters to his friends. The director said he was driven to make a film to `’speak all about these children who have no voice. `’ He said while the actors grew depressed due to the movie’s subject matter “they had the feeling that they are helping other persons to stop doing this, to see a way to make a revolution. That was our hope, our motive.”