AFI FEST Review: ‘Chevalier’ is a Striking Subversion of Masculinity

GameStop, Inc.

chevalier--0002

We all have insecurities. We also have a certain competitive nature where we measure ourselves by those directly around us, especially men. But what if our insecurities and flaws were part of a competition? What if we were judged by our manner of sleeping? Do they snore? Do they drool? Those questions make up the plot of Chevalier, the pitch black comedy from director Athina Rachel Tsangari. The story is about six men on a luxury yacht and a competition they’ve made up to pass the time where each one judges the others in order to discover whom is the best among them, or so they hope.

On their vacation, the six friends of varying acquaintance go diving, ride jet skis, and try their hands at spear fishing in the lap of luxury. There’s the doctor (Yiorgos Kendros), the oldest of the group and owner of the yacht; Yorgo (Panos Koronis), a father of two and generally affable fellow; Yannis (Giorgos Pyrpassopoulos), an insurance broker who finds himself of great self-importance; Demitiris (Efthymis Papadimitriou), Yannis’ brother and somewhat of an idiot savant; Josef (Vangelis Mourikis), a slightly older man who can be unsure of himself; and Christos (Sakis Rouvas), the younger, fitter partner of the doctor and hopeful successor to his thriving medical practice. During their trip, the men are waited on by the boat’s captain (Nikos Orphanos) and wait staff (Giannis Drakopoulos and Kostas Filippoglou). While passing the time, the men devise a game where each of their flaws will scrutinized by the others, which leads to an escalating sense of distrust by all on board, including the wait staff who begin to privately weigh in on the favorites or otherwise.

At first, Chevalier starts off kind of dry, but that’s merely to allow the audience to get a sense of each of these characters without one of them just proclaiming all of their character traits. Once we get a grip of who these characters are and the game is underway, the comedic escalation is subdued yet effective. Before long these characters are consumed with a competitive spirit that leads to innocuous conversations having greater meaning as they jot down notes about each other’s numerous flaws. I’m not one to generally laugh at merely a burp, but there’s one particular moment when a character burps at dinner, then silence follows, and the scribbling in notebooks commences around the table. It is absolutely hilarious. These men put themselves in more and more precarious situations, whether judging the size of each other’s penises or calling their loved ones on speakerphone so that the others can listen. There’s a human cost to the escalating lunacy that Athina Rachel Tsangari and co-writer Efthymis Filippou find deep within their flawed characters.

Amplifying the ill-conceived game that the characters engage in is Athina Rachel Tsangari’s direction, which frequently plays with the frame’s focal point. In many regards, the camera’s focal point is in the middle of the shot while characters move closer to the camera, fading slowly in and out of focus as means of illustrating the shortsighted nature of Chevalier’s games. In the opening shot, a lone diver emerges from the water, appearing as a blip on the screen in comparison to the massive cliff that hangs over the ocean – the immense magnitude of the frame accentuates just how tiny the quibbles that make up the rules of the game truly are. Tsangari is never overtly cinematic with her presentation, opting for a much more naturalistic sense of lighting which is most noticeable when the game is conceived over a candle-lit dinner.

Chevalier is a film that takes its concept not as far as some American audiences might expect, though it rationally pushes its characters towards a comedic edge of personal insecurities. These six men, as well as the three crew members of the yacht, can’t see the disastrous side effects of their seemingly innocuous game, but it drives them to places and thoughts that were never prepared for, all the while playing for some strong, hearty laughs. Athina Rachel Tsangari has crafted a smart little comedy to come out of Greece, and one can’t help but wonder just how much the political strife of the country influenced the portrayal of a bunch of well-to-do self-absorbed assholes nitpicking each other. What can be said, however, is that with Chevalier Athina Rachel Tsangari skews masculinity in an artful and comedic style.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

FanboyNation
Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Paul Crowder and ‘Boss’ Wooldridge Talk ‘The Blue Angels’ Doc – Interview

Director, Paul Crowder and Flying Ace, Greg “Boss” Woolridge talk about...

Eric Bana Talks ‘Force of Nature: The Dry 2’ – Interview

Eric Bana Returns for the sequel to ‘The Dry‘ in ‘Force...

Letitia Wright’s Talks about her Latest Film ‘Aisha’ – Interview

Letitia Wright’s latest film, ‘Aisha‘, a story about immigration, resilience, friendship...

Event News Event Reviews
Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Takes You to A Whole New World at Segerstrom – Review

Disney’s Aladdin takes the audience on a thrilling chase and a wonderous place...

Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach on The Queen Mary this Halloween

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach for the...

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice’ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the Arts – Review

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice‘ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part something: Hermione and the Mini-gun pt 2

Have a lead salad instead!

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part ?: Hermione and the mini-gun pt 1

It can't fire more than 6,000 per minute!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse: Kurt v Sid – HASTA!

Hasta La Vista Baby!

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus
MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...