This text is replaced by the Flash movie.

Interviews & Features

Cover Stories Interviews Features Previews Online Other
Dead Europe

Dead Europe

Tony Krawitz


January 2013

View Original Article

Dead Europe’s gay protagonist finds a continent’s sleazy underbelly

Its title might make it sound like some post-apocalyptic horror flick, but Dead Europe is awash not with mindless zombies but family secrets, ancient curses and casual gay sex. Still, the Old World does turn out to be pretty nightmarish for Australian photographer Isaac (Ewen Leslie) when he returns there against his Greek immigrant family’s wishes.

Christos Tsiolkas, the Greek-Australian author of the book Dead Europe is based on, has written about both the gay and immigrant experience in his adopted country. His first novel, Loaded, was adapted as the striking 1998 queer film Head On. But whereas Head On’s protagonist, Ari, was a closeted, tormented Melbourne teen, Dead Europe’s Isaac is matter-of-fact and unapologetic about his sexuality, turning to a nosy cousin in Athens who wants to know if he’s married or has a girlfriend and declaring nonchalantly, ‘No, mate, I’m gay.’

‘What I loved about Christos’s novel is that Isaac’s sexuality wasn’t an issue,’ says Tony Krawitz, a director of Lithuanian-Jewish descent who found himself intrigued by Dead Europe’s examination of the region’s dark anti-Semitic past. ‘It’s integral to the story that he is a gay man, but it’s not a problem that needs to be addressed in the film.’

As he traverses the Continent, the hedonistic Isaac indulges in threesomes, drugs and cruisy sex in an Athens park. That’s where he also stumbles on a young boy named Josef (played by Let Me In’s Kodi-Smit McPhee), who leads Isaac – and the film – into creepier, supernatural terrain. Matters get seedy, too, when Isaac tracks down his estranged brother Nico (Marton Csokas) to Budapest, where he’s involved in porn and peddling boys (including Josef) to degenerate businessmen.

It’s not a cheery film, trading in the past horrors and deep-rooted superstitions of European culture. But as much as he seems cursed by his past, at least Isaac’s mounting problems never come down to his sexuality. ‘We wanted to make a story about how a rational man responds when he’s confronted by ghosts,’ says Krawitz. ‘It’s a great going-back-to-your-roots story with a unique twist.’
Home | Interviews & Features | Reviews | Videos | CV/Bio | Contact | Sitemap