1 May 2015 | oh-odette
Wonderful Greek comedy of 4 guys carrying a coffin over a hundred miles
FOUR BLACK SUITS (2010) The Marx Brothers meet Aristophanes in Renos Haralambidis' hilarious and touching buddy-on the road comedy as four men take the job of wearing dark suits and carrying a coffin from Athens on foot according to the corpse's will to deliver him to his village several hundred kilometers in the countryside in hopes that they will be well paid by his inheritance.
Haralambidis who has written, directed and stars in this engaging odyssey from Athens, then through highways followed by dirt roads, open fields and coastal paths, pulls on the talents of some of Greece's best comic actors with Yannis Zouganelis playing a frustrated Shakespearian actor, Takis Spiridakis playing an ex-con just released from prison and Alkis Panagiotidis, an aging man with a troubled past.
Haralambidis plays Makis, the leader of the group as the son of a funeral company that is going out of business who wants to turn their journey into the "Guinness book of world records for the longest walk in the world with a coffin." But one misadventure after another unfolds as we get to know each character's troubled past, leading Makis to feel he will become "a joke around the cemeteries."
But then a totally engaging spirit of carnival sweeps into their lives as they begin to accept what this journey has given them including an unexpected friendship with, yes, the corpse and his girlfriend of decades before.
If Zorba the Greek (1964) calls on the uplifting power of dancing in the face of disasters, Haralambidis pulls together a group dance sequence that liberates and transforms every character despite all personal misfortunes! Comedy and death have crossed paths before in memorable films such as Mike Newell's Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and Frank Oz's Death At a Funeral (2007), and Haralambidis' Four Black Suits certainly holds its own in such a comic gathering. This is contemporary independent Greek film comedy at its best!