Wednesday 26 January 2022

REVIEW: In the Strange Pursuit of Laura Durand (Η Αναζήτηση της Λώρα Ντουράντ)

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Review by Jon Donnis
In the Strange Pursuit of Laura Durand is a Greek buddy road trip film that has finally made its way to the UK, and gets a Digital Download release from 31st January'

Antonis Titsanis (played by Makis Papadimitriou) and Christos Fertakis (played by Michalis Sarantis) are two young men, down on their luck, loser type characters, no jobs, poor living conditions and really just letting life pass them by, surviving on Christos' unemployment benefits.

But from within this sad existence, they do have a common love interest. The beautiful Laura Durand, (Anna Kalaitzidou) a 1990s porn star who mysterious disappeared, one day after watching an old VHS tape and reminiscing about her career, they decide that they should solve the mystery of her disappearance and go on a mission to track her down, after they have a vision of her almost summoning them to save her.

What follows is their journey, a very weird at times journey, that mixes comedy, with drama, with full on mystery, without ever really settling on one genre.

The film even at one point goes to black and white to match the mood of the scene in a creepy old mansion, the characters heads even become enlarged and then there is a musical interlude/dance. All very weird.

At times it feels like the characters are either high on drugs, mentally ill, or part of some weird fantasy, the film cleverly never really tells you which reality is true within the confines of the film, which includes dream sequences, ghostly apparitions, and downright weird scenes. There is an element of a treasure hunt to the film, with maps and messages in a bottle, but these are never the main focus of the film, they are more like strange side effects of their journey.

The film is separated into chapters, which have various titles, a couple that come to mind are "Never Trust A Hippy" and "Memories Are Calling You To Come Back".

Do they ever find Laura Durand? Is she just a figment of their imagination? Well, I won't spoil it for you. But as with most road trip films; the journey is what is important, the detours etc, and not the destination as such.

A special shout out must be made for the soundtrack which is excellent, and at just over 90 minutes the film never really feels like it is dragging, or that a scene has been thrown in to fill time. Although this film is definitely one for the film festivals, as opposed to the mainstream, I can see it gaining cult status.

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The Good
High quality filming and direction, the acting is believable, and although we have seen a million buddy road trip films, this one is different, which is an almost impossible achievement.

The Bad
Some of the translation from Greek to the English subtitles isn't brilliant, and I think that some of the humour in the film does not translate in general to an English audience, the nuance of the Greek language, might get lost in translation.

I benefited from speaking Greek, but I needed the subtitles too as mainland Greeks speak so fast! That said I enjoyed this film; it really is something different. 
Strong characters, a decent story, and fantastic soundtrack. 

I score In the Strange Pursuit of Laura Durand a strong 8/10

Review by Jon Donnis

In the Strange Pursuit of Laura Durand will be available on Digital Download from 31st January
Pre-order from Apple TV now at