Adults in the room – Budget Issues

Still active and angered by the Greek economy’s situation, Costa-Gavras signs a cinematographic thesis loaded against Europe liberal infection. Decoding.

By Theo Bosschaert

Reading time 3 min.

Adults in the Room


Like in his previous film Capital, Costa-Gavras tackles the capitalism system in Adults in the Room. Z and The Confession’s director adapts the ephemeral Greek finance minister’s autobiography, Yánis Varoufákis. He focuses on his few months beside left wind Prime Minister Alexi Tsipras as confident, then his crusade against the enormous austerity mandated to a whole country. As he gets in politics, he discovers the European sprawling and obscure operation where power struggle blend with economical realpolitik. One men’s commitment becomes upset by the other country’s animosity.  See-sawed between a potential Grexit or a greater austerity, plague or cholera. His Cartesian economist offers fall on deaf statesmen ears.

A clumsy Manicheism
fed by the director’s
naive optimism

While the sequences shot in Greece only inform on the hero’s unwavering convictions, almost saint-like, negotiations scenes, each country’s protocol meeting at first then in the European institutions, really gives you a glance at a super-state mechanics. Even more knowing Varoufakis recorded carefully his meetings, testifying on the worrying truth, almost Kafkaesque. Unfortunately, the 2 hours long movie struggles to find a rhythm. Behind a clumsy Manicheism fed by the director naïve optimism, it is hard to figure out the great european leaders’ real motivations, making them appear as archetypes from Dr. Strangelove. In the meantime, Greek politician seem so funny, so honest, so ethic…

The film dares being unusually pop but the lack of money can be felt. Varoufakis’ apartment is really Varoufakis’ apartment, fine. But when characters get chroma-keyed onto the European parliament or when numbers start to dance in the air, the eyes sting. It is hard to criticize a film for its technical side, even more when the direction is caring and mastered by the eternal Costa-Gavras, 86. But when this issue is added to the statement’s clumsiness, it becomes hard to defend the oeuvre, seemingly so documented. Let’s admit that reality is so Manichean it appears implausible.

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