Athens International Film Festival

    Archive : 18th AIFF 2012

  • A touch of camp: The charm of being over-the-top

    What is camp? Dictionaries define it as �an aesthetic sensibility that regards something as appealing or humorous because of its ridiculousness to the viewer�. True enough, camp does embrace a sense of extravagance, an artificiality, something that's unintentionally funny but at the same time good-natured, innocent, impulsive and out of the box. A camp film can almost look like a failed recipe. It's like trying to make eggs sunny-side-up and ending up with an omelet. They might look a little different, but they still taste good all the same.

    With the passage of time, camp built its own celluloid history, gained a faithful following and even inspired a brilliant journalist and writer like Susan Sontag to defend it with all her might, emphasising its key elements as �artifice, frivolity, naive middle-class pretentiousness, and shocking excess�. It also happened to present one of the biggest aesthetic contradictions of all time: although a film never started out to be camp but often ended up that way – usually when something went terribly wrong – a lot of filmmakers took advantage of this excess of bad taste to earn their work a characterisation no one would normally want.

    And although it's a far cry from Jane Fonda's intergalactic hussy in �Barbarella� to Carmen Miranda's over-the-top headgear in Busby Berkeley musicals, packing more exotic fruit that your average farmer's market, and from Ed Wood's beautiful monstrosities to Doris Day's pink fluffy clouds or - god forbid - Raquel Welch's transsexual antics in �Myra Breckinridge�, all these films have something in common: they discover pleasure where there should only be shame, they are amused with aberration, enjoy a good misfire, embrace flamboyance and filter cinema through a distorting lens and a quirky sense of humor. The Athens International Festival is proud to present five prime examples of the camp persuasion, a saucy subgenre that's absolutely delicious.

    Loukas Katsikas

  • Mommie Dearest

    Few people in movie history have reached the camp heights of Joan Crawford, except maybe Faye Dunaway on the year she was asked to portray Crawford on the big screen. In an unprecedented crescendo ...

  • Myra Breckinridge

    This is the outrageous story of Myra Breckinridge, a gorgeous transsexual who gets a sex change operation and heads out to Hollywood to teach a few of its most arrogant inhabitants a thing or two ...

  • Pillow Talk

    Mistaken identities, charming misunderstandings, romantic mishaps, fabulous dresses, immaculate suits, cosmopolitan atmosphere and sexually suggestive humor are the basic ingredients that made ...

  • The Shanghai Gesture

    Thick clouds of opium waft over a tempestuous story of decadence, seduction and debauchery, camouflaged as a sexually charged, highly operatic melodrama. Based on a script that suffered countless ...

  • Valley of the Dolls

    They're young, beautiful and full of dreams. Soon, they will see their expectations fall short, become victims of substance abuse and live on the dark side of fame. Elbow-deep into the ...