Pause (2018)

Director: Tonia Mishiali
Writer: Tonia Mishiali, Anna Fotiadou
Cast: Stella Fyrogeni, Andreas Vasileiou, Popi Avraam, Georgina Tatsi, Andrey Pilipenko
Seen on: 7.7.2020

Elpida (Stella Fyrogeni) has just been told that she is menopausal. This irrefutable proof that she is growing older lets her look at her life anew, especially her suffocating marriage to Costas (Andreas Vasileiou). Elpida starts to allow herself fantasies and make plans, but whether reality can conform to that is another question.

Pause is an interesting film that gives us a complex portrayal of an older woman. With menopause, it tackles a topic that is usually not mentioned at all and Fyrogeni’s excellent performance does its part as well. It’s really good.

The film poster showing a drawing of a uterus and fallopian tubes.

In most films, there are no women at an age where they could conceivably be menopausal – they get to be fuckable, then moms, and then they make a reappearence as grandmothers. And even if they might actually be menopausal, it is certainly not something that will be mentioned beyond a joke or two. Menopause is pretty taboo for women, let alone for people of other genders who experience it, too.

So it was very refreshing to see it handled so frankly in the film. It starts with a scene where Elpida is at the doctor’s office and as he rattles off the many (side-)effects of menopause, but basically finishes with “well, all of that is normal, so no need to worry or actually do much against it”, I challenge you not to feel the weight of that particular condition – and how that makes it even more ridiculous that we barely talk about it.

Elpida (Stella Fyorgeni) at a gynecological exam.

From the more or less simple fact of menopause, Mishiali develops a complex storyline about a woman breaking out of her life. But that break-out is not always easy and it’s not a joyful process. It brings with it its own challenges, and the outcome isn’t always clear. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a process that needs to be gone through.

Fyrogeni is fantastic and carries most of the film – I dare say it wouldn’t have worked without her presence. But fortunately we got it and her, getting an engaging, challenging film about an unlikely protagonist as a result.

Elpida (Stella Fyorgeni) looking out the window in the dark.

Summarizing: definitely worth seeing.

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