Cosmic Candy : ‘Fantasia’ Review: An interesting character study that loses its impact too quick
The Greek film Cosmic Candy directed by Rinio Dragasaki is an ambitious and exciting effort in equal parts. It is a character study of a woman – a supermarket cashier who is a bit of a weirdo with an eccentric air about her and her dreams of eating cosmic candies. When she is forced to take care of her neighbor’s daughter who has gone missing, things truly take a turn for her. The film has a constructive and imaginative premise – except that it doesn’t truly live up to its potential. The problem with the film is that it might be excellently ambitious on paper but it translates crudely to the screen.
The craft of Cosmic Candy isn’t appealing enough. Dragasaki tells the story as she would narrate it to a kid, and the results are truly frustrating because that means childish twists in a unique narrative and a fairly straightforward route to storytelling with extended strings that go nowhere. The film has been made with sincerity and there is no lack of heart in it but with a narrative that is a hybrid of morbidity and feel-good fiction, the film fails to stay true to either of its genres. Thus resulting in a mess with little impact or intelligence up its sleeves. The patchiness of the plot affects the film so adversely that the film feels too long at a running time as short as 95 minutes. It doesn’t manage to successfully blend it’s many elements seamlessly. As a result, the film sags for most of the part. The optimistic climax ties all the unconvincing elements together, thus adding to the sloppiness.
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When indies with potential tend to let down by their filmmaking, they are salvaged by the performances. Sadly, no performances in Cosmic Candy is praiseworthy either. Maria Kitsou leads the film with some conviction but her out-of-a-sleep act is too sweet and over-the-top to be satisfying or substantial. Which is an irony because it’s her performance that does much of the heavy lifting throughout the film. Other performances are too caricaturish and whimsical to maintain a sense of intrigue in the plot.
Despite its many glaring flaws, the film has been inhabited by some passages of beauty. The sequences of the dreamscape have been designed compellingly, the editing and cinematography combine and provide a mixture of both joylessness and delightfulness to the scenes where the protagonist is in the supermarket and is eating the candy. These moments confirm that even though the film isn’t half as great as these moments, it doesn’t have a lack of imagination.
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The little nods to the cosmology Cosmic Candy allude to and its deceptively simple method to conversations also adds up through the varied dynamics of the screenplay. Although the writing suffers from the obvious lack of subtlety and nuance that could have helped the film become more adequate than it is. I suspect the film might work better if you watch it with lesser expectations. But a story with mental health and female dynamics should have worked a lot better with such an intriguing premise. Unfortunately, what we get is a sum of the parts too few and far in between.