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THE END OF THE GAME [Ostria, to Telos tou Paihnidiou; a.k.a. South Wind] (1984).

Unable to find one lick of information on the Greek psycho-drama, I decided to remedy that situation by checking it out for myself. And although the video's extremely crude, abbreviated subtitles only catch every-other line of dialogue, I doubt I missed any deeper subtext (even though it reeks of unfulfilled pretentions). Three couples decide to rough it on a seaside camping trip, and after finding an isolated spot and setting up their tents, the six do their best to hide the growing chasms in their friendships. Basically, they're all unlikable asswipes, and after over half-an-hour of their slow-paced bullshit, backstabbing and secret affairs, it's a godsend to meet a new cast member. Better still, she's a pretty blonde stranger (first seen skinny-dipping during the opening credits) who arrives in the middle of the night, sets up her pup-tent, strips down for a swim, and immediately has this dysfunctional six-pack intrigued. Suddenly, she becomes a partner in their individual fantasies, be it sexual or just plain silly (e.g. blowing up the rest of the camping part, using the old dynamite-'n'-plunger routine). And when they finally invite this "nudist" down the beach for dinner-turned-drunken-bacchanale, she looks bored shitless throughout (mirroring the viewer). Sure, lots of time is spent watching this perpetually-nude stranger (Rebecca Pauly) going about her routine, such as preparing a fresh octopus dinner. That's no problem. But the downside is watching overweight Greek men in skimpy little bathing trunks. Directed by Andreas Thomopoulos and written by the late Katerina Gogou (a well-regarded Greek poet, who also co-stars), all of this is set on one section of beach, so it's not the biggest-budgeted affair. Then it combines annoying characters, an uninspired story, the occasional surreal moment, and (most telling) supposedly-heavy moments which had me laughing instead. Despite the occasional sleazy moment, this is long-winded at only 85 minutes, and feels more like an anemic short-story best suited to the circular file...Now I understand why this film has been ignored.

© 1997 by Steven Puchalski.