For all of his seemingly out-there ideas and distinctive obsessions, Oscar-nominated Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos is one of world cinema’s most consistent creators. Even in his earliest solo feature, the hard-to-find “Kinetta,” Lanthimos’ unique aesthetic and worldview takes center stage. In the 2005 feature, bound for a U.S. release after all these years, Lanthimos’ panache for building out disturbing self-contained worlds that are bound by their own wild logic and weirdo rules is clear.
Though the film screened at various festivals in 2005 and 2006, it was never released stateside. Thanks to New York’s Museum of the Moving Image, the film will finally be available to American audiences, care of an upcoming run at the Queens institution. The film stars Aris Servetalis, Evangelia Randou, and Costas Xikominos.
Per the film’s official synopsis: “In a desolate Greek resort town, three tenuously connected people are motivated by mysterious impulses. A plain-clothes cop pursues triple passions for cars, tape recorders, and Russian women; a lonely, lovesick clerk works as a part-time photographer; and a hotel maid aspires to be an actress. This darkly comic and insinuatingly hypnotic film comprises the extraordinary debut from Yorgos Lanthimos, whose first three films (‘Kinetta,’ ‘Dogtooth,’ ‘Alps’) defined the Greek New Wave before he shifted to English-language films, including Academy Award nominees ‘The Lobster’ and ‘The Favourite.'”
Lanthimos went for a decidedly DIY approach when he made the jump to solo filmmaking (he had previously made “My Best Friend” alongside Lakis Lazopoulos), filming “Kinetta” with a minimal crew and a cast of just three actors. “It was really naïve how we approached it, and we hadn’t done it before,” Lanthimos told IndieWire in 2018. “But with that, we proved that it’s possible. We became even more thirsty to do it, so we kept making films.”
The project brought Lanthimos into the film festival world, and as “Kinetta” turned a few heads at starry fests like Toronto and Berlin, he suddenly became aware of a bigger cinematic universe that just might offer a place for his work. “I didn’t even know what this thing was and how it worked, and who were all these people that were selecting films for festival,” he said at the time. After “Kinetta,” Lanthimos went on to make other festival standouts like “Dogtooth” and “Alps,” eventually bringing his special charms to Hollywood in films like “The Lobster” and the Oscar-winning “The Favourite.”
“Kinetta” will screen at the Museum of the Moving Image from October 18 through October 27. The museum will also screen the film as part of a pair of Lanthimos-centric double features, including with “Dogtooth” on October 19 and with “Alps” on October 20. You can find out more about the screenings right here.
Check out the film’s brand-new U.S. trailer and poster, available exclusively on IndieWire, below.