Award-winning writer/director, Alkinos Tsilimidos serves up life, love, food and cultural differences in his brand new dark comedy The Taverna, premiering today in cinemas across Australia.
In his latest film, The Taverna, Kostas (Vangelis Mourikis) runs a popular suburban Greek taverna. When belly dancer Jamila (Rachel Kamath) refuses to dance after spotting her ex at a table with his older lover Rebecca (Tottie Goldsmith), waitress Sally (Emily O’Brien-Brown) decides to step into the breach.
Throw into the mix sleazy groping customers, an impromptu kidnapping, rampaging possums, and Kostas’s drug-addict son having an accident, and you have a recipe for an absolutely chaotic night.
Notable too is the screen debut of popular singer Emanuela Costaras as waitress Katerina.
Born in Melbourne, Australia 1966. Alkinos has been described as one of Australia’s most important contemporary film directors. He has a reputation for being an actor’s director and is renowned for his uncompromising approach to stories of social relevance.
“It was a hot summer in Melbourne when we took over my friend’s Greek restaurant White Village Tavern to shoot this movie,” Tsilimidos explains.
Always a favourite wrap party destination for Tsilimidos’ productions, it was in the courtyard of White Village Tavern, over the remnants of a meat platter, red wine, the fateful smudges of a Greek coffee and to the tune of a rather loud and audacious possum on the roof that The Taverna was born.
After directing such serious films as Every Night . . .Every Night and Tom White, Tsilimidos was inspired by his own Greek-Aussie experiences to take a new tack by creating a dark comedy this time around.
“All the characters are based on people that I know,” says Tsilimidos, “and the idea was to simply place them inside a Greek restaurant for one night to see what could happen.”
Tsilimidos believes that The Taverna will mean different things to different people.
Their stories evoking universal themes around love, migration and displacement, Tsilimidos wanted audiences to experience a personal relationship with the characters as if they were subjects of a documentary.
“It’s probably my most personal film,” he reveals. “I grew up the son of Greek immigrants. From my earliest recollections the experience of eating in Greek restaurants in Melbourne made me feel Greek.
The food, the drama, the language, and the fun led to an overwhelming feeling of belonging. This is what The Taverna means to me: that we can be who we are when gifted a place to belong.”
The Taverna’s Rebecca is beautifully played by Tottie Goldsmith, much-loved Australian actress and this year recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community and the performing arts.
In an appearance on Australian Channel 7’s The Morning Show this week, Tottie chatted to hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies about the movie production, including how she came to be wrapped in glad wrap in a car at 2am saying; “It’s funny, it’s dark…it was so much fun being part of it.”
The Taverna is released nationally on Thursday 2 July with Palace, Ritz, Cameo, Classic and Lido, Cameo and Ritz cinemas.
Watch the trailers:
Read the Reviews:
“The Taverna is a true delight, from beginning to end.” FilmInk
“As a Helleophile, I really relate to the sensibility of this film.” Hursto’s Five Minute Films
ABOUT The Taverna
A Rescued Films production
Director: Alkinos Tsilimidos
Cast: Vangelis Mourikis, Tottie Goldsmith, Rachel Kamath, Senol Mat, Emmanuela Costaras, Emily O’Brien-Brown, Peter Paltos, Salman Arif and Maria Mercedes
Duration: 86 mins
Book Tickets: https://www.facebook.com/thetavernamovie/