Crete at Its Best [Michalis Malandrakis, Greece, 2017]

The scene opens with a bird’s eye view of a waitress walking towards a couple that is seated in an open view restaurant, the sound of the background piano music setting the tone in a romantic way. Crete at its Best is a travel-based commercial advertising the ancient villa of Diktynna, Crete. The commercial emphasises that this is a place for couples to reignite their flame and perform activities together, such as pottery and wine tasting. It also emphasises that anyone that visits this place will fall in love with the breath-taking views, stunning beach and historical architecture.

It would have been nice to see some more scenes of the architectural aspects of the island and of some local residents too. The cinematography is on point, with nice use of camera angles; in particular, the zoom-in dolly sets a great mood for the subject. The sound design sets the commercial in a romantic context, but some diegetic sound originating from the location would give the audiences a better sense of the place. The lighting throughout is used very well although most of the time the natural lighting is apparent due to many of the scenes being filmed in daylight and in open spaces.

Overall the actors’ performances could have been more involved, in respect to showing more expression and emotion in reaction to their activities. The director's visual composition does convey the purpose of this being a travel commercial, which is great. Perhaps there could be more excitement if there were, for example, a shot of the male's point of view, with the camera focusing on the lady smiling back at him and running towards something whilst holding his hand or waving her hand to him to hurry with a happy look, or something to this effect. But, as specified before, this commercial does still have a romantic feel to it.

One particularly good scene is a moment when the main actor is making pottery, adding a cultural aspect to the theme of the commercial. The images chosen provide the sense that Diktynna is a pleasant place to travel, with cutaways to traditional cuisines that enable us a colourful, culinary insight. The film and the place it portrays has an overall peaceful quality, particularly towards the end where we see a beautiful sunset on the horizon, leaving us with the sense that Crete is a place where our dreams can become reality.

'Crete at its Best' was a film submission in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2018.

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