Watching a Mediterranean island film on a Mediterranean island is a unique experience. Despite the differences between Cyprus and Malta, when sitting in a darkened room in Malta watching Cyprus on the screen, you cannot help but feel that you are being transported to somewhere that is already somewhat familiar. The sleepy village life, the small communities that live in each other’s pockets and the hordes of locals descending upon the community church – islands in their separation from greater land masses share strong bonding identities that unite them despite their distances from one another. The Islanders programme at the festival provides a much-needed platform for those otherwise unheard island voices to resonate on an international level.
Petros Charalambous’ Boy on the Bridge, set in a small Cypriot village in 1988, takes us careering into a journey that is full of intrigue, law infringement, love and loyalty. Socrate’s father tells his son that if he is to fight then he must have a cause. The arrival of this cause comes in the form of Hambo, Socrates’ violent uncle. The fatal consequences lead to a village plunged into a murder investigation, where the motivations behind admissions of guilt become even more complex than those behind the murder itself. The plot constantly gets the better of us, just as we begin to think that the case has been solved yet another discovery is made that sends us once again into a haze of confusion.
The young actors, Konstantinos Farmakas and George Demetriou, display immense talent and their strong yet playful bond adds a touch of innocence to their unlawful acts. In the small village, the two boys spend much of their time in each other’s company but the two boys’ parents appear to have far more difficulty in communicating with one another. Whether blows are exchanged, hidden secrets are kept for years or blood relations simply fail to confide in one another, the adults in this film appear to be just as precarious as their children. The complex relationship between the individual, family and local community is at the heart of this film. The intensification of human emotions in such a close-knit yet inherently fragmented group of people takes the audience on a journey to the core of human interdependence and the loyalties that both unite and divide us.
Writen by Melita Cameron-Wood