It’s a busy night at Kostas’ (Vangelis Mourikis) Greek restaurant when Jamila (Rachel Kamath), the belly dancer, refuses to go on because her ex-husband, Arman (Peter Paltos), has unexpectedly arrived for a romantic dinner with his new lover, Rebecca (Tottie Goldsmith).
Jamila is in the midst of a nasty custody battle for her daughter, instigated by Rebecca. Saving the day Sally (Emily O’Brien-Brown), the quirky waitress, volunteers to dance provided Jamila gives her some lessons. In the meantime, Omer (Senol Mat), the gentle chef, hatches a plan to get Rebecca out of the restaurant to fulfill Jamila’s wish to get Arman back.
As Sally does her dance a brawl breaks out when a customer pinches her bum and she whacks him. In all the chaos, Omer abducts Rebecca from the powder room and Arman, on discovering that Rebecca is missing, fears he may have upset her during his provocative dance with Sally.
To make things worse he can’t pay the bill. He’s about to do a runner, when, to his surprise Jamila confronts him. Meanwhile Kostas learns that his hapless son, Angelo (Christian Charisiou) left the scene of a car accident and decides to take the rap.
When Rebecca is discovered alive and restrained in cling-wrap in the back of Omer’s van a heartfelt and hilarious climax ensues. Rebecca reveals she doesn’t really want the daughter, Omer delivers a shattering confession and Kostas tells the police the truth about his son.
“It was a hot summer in Melbourne when we took over my friend’s Greek restaurant to shoot this movie,” said writer/director Alkinos Tsilimidos. “White Village Tavern, the location, has always been a favorite wrap party destination for my productions.”
“The Taverna was born in the courtyard of White Village Tavern from the remnants of a meat platter, red wine, the fateful smudges of a Greek coffee and a rather loud and audacious possum on the roof. All the characters are based on people that I know and the idea was to simply place them inside a Greek restaurant for one night to see what could happen.”
“Their stories would evoke universal themes around love, migration and displacement but as the plot developed something else became very clear to me. These people were in danger. They had to either face certain realities in their lives to enact change or be destined to live in some sort of delusion. This was to become the central theme of the movie.”
“Drawing inspiration from cinema verite, I wanted audiences to experience a personal relationship with the characters as if they were subjects of a documentary. The Taverna will mean different things to different people. It’s probably my most personal film,” said Tsilimidos.
Writer/Director: Alkinos Tsilimidos Cast: Vangelis Mourikis, Rachel Kamath, Senol Mat, Emmanuela Costaras, Emily O’Brien-Brown, Salman Arif, Tottie Goldsmith, Peter Paltos, Maria Mercedes Director of Photography: Shelley Farthing-Dawe Production Designer: Tiana Lioulios Costume Designer: Tristan Meredith Sound Designer: Jill Johanson
Image: Peter Paltos (Arman), Vangelis Mourikis (Kostas) and Tottie Goldsmith (Rebecca) star in The Taverna (film still)