Six gentlemen of leisure sail the Aegean in a gleaming yacht and compete to determine which of them is ‘The Best in General’ in this bone-dry take on contemporary manhood, directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg).
Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
“Chevalier, from Greek Weird Wave filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg), is an inspired, gorgeously photographed work of deadpan lunacy that asserts itself as a spit-take on masculine rivalries. Six sort-of buddies, for some reason on a yacht in the Aegean Sea, spontaneously create a competition with fluid rules over which of them is ‘The Best in General.’ Each has surface strengths and flaws, but that doesn’t matter in this absurdist game of one-upmanship: Who has the best posture? Who has the best cellular ringtone? Who can assemble Ikea furniture the fastest? Yes, it’ll eventually become a dick-measuring contest of vain insecurities – all the better scripted by a woman – but as the comedy of manners devolves, it also evolves into a thought-provoking critique on how the personal affects the political, and the utter ridiculousness of all human subjectivity.” — Aaron Hillis, Village Voice
“What could have been an easy (or worse, trite) evisceration of male ego and vanity becomes something both subtler and stranger in Tsangari’s scenario… Chevalier is rich with bickering and petty squabbles, but the film is sustained thanks to the men’s ability to preserve (for the most part) a modicum of respect toward one another, and toward the rules of their absurd game – though this gentlemanly honour is very clearly strategic, since encouraging and reassuring others about their shortcomings is as important as hiding one’s own in a game where each participant is on double duty as both player and judge.” — Samuel La France, Cinema Scope