France, Greece, 2019 / 124 min / Greek & English OV with French subt. / political drama, Biopic

Costa-Gavras Retrospective

The financial crisis seen from inside the highest echelons of politics: a modern Greek tragedy.

Greece in 2015. After 7 years of crisis, the economy is in tatters and the country is on the verge of bankruptcy. Behind closed doors, a human tragedy plays out. But with the elections, a new wind is blowing in the country. Two men represent a people’s hope to lead the country out of the dictatorship of austerity, free their people trapped in an inhuman network of power. Alexis Tsipras nominates Yanis Varoufakis to lead the fight at the highest echelons of European power, where rules are enforced with complete disregard for compassion. A claustrophobic trap with no way out, exerting pressure on the protagonists and finally dividing them. A tragedy in the Ancient Greek sense: the characters are not good or evil, but driven by the consequences of their own conception of what it is right to do. A Greek tragedy for our very modern times.

“I fled my country because, back then, all it offered to young people of my social class was a life of submission to a theocratic-democracy. […] Ten years ago, the Greek crisis plunged the country back into the same situation that made me flee in the first place.Director’s statement by Costa-Gavras

Fri 13/03 21:00 Ciné Utopia GR & EN OV with FR subt. Public

"Adults in the Room navigates those treacherous political waters with great skill, condensing a labyrinthine political and economic situation into a thrilling soap opera." Sight & Sound

“For those interested in how the EU sausage is made — a process that Costa-Gavras mines both for its theatricality and seeming inanity — the film can be a gripping piece of infotainment, even if it runs long at 124 minutes. […] The push-and-pull between Yanis and everyone else, including his own boss, occupies most of the movie, growing increasingly Kafkaesque as a real solution appears just around the corner and then suddenly becomes unobtainable. […] Given that he adapted his movie from fellow countryman Varoufakis’ autobiographical book, it’s obvious whose side the director is on, favoring the Greeks over everyone else and showing how much they were victims […] [Costa-Gavras’s] film reveals how all the infighting among Europe’s member states is not unlike your typical schoolyard quarrel, with everyone shifting allegiances to save their country's skin or simply to save face. The irony, emphasized by the film’s title, is that each EU official believes they’re the only adult in the room but few of them tend to act like it.” Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, 31/08/2019

“Costa-Gavras revisits the Grexit crisis with panache. His adaptation of Yanis Varoufakis’s memoir creates a very human drama out of a painful episode from recent European history. […] Adults in the Room navigates those treacherous political waters with great skill, condensing a labyrinthine political and economic situation into a thrilling soap opera. Costa-Gavras’s adaptation establishes the conflict quickly and clearly, before entering the hell that is months of repetitive, dead-end negotiations with an opponent that refuses to compromise. […] It’s important to remember this is not a factual account, but Varoufakis and Costa-Gavras’s composite perspective. That said, while the EU leaders may appear to be caricatures, the film seems to respect the fact that they are doing what anyone would do to protect their own interests. The real goal of Adults in the Room is not to eviscerate the EU but to make the viewer understand what a difficult choice the Greeks faced and how they tried to do their best by their country at every turn.” Tom Bond, British Film Institute, 02/10/2019

  • Freedom of Expression – Honorary Award, CinEuphoria Awards, 2020
Cast & Credits
Christos Loulis, Alexandros Bourdoumis, Ulrich Tukur, Daan Schuurmans, Josiane Pinson, Cornélius Obonya, George Lenz, Aurélien Recoing, Valera Golino
Costa-Gavras, based on the book “Adults In The Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment” by Yanis Varoufakis
Yorgos Arvanitis
Nikos Papadimitriou, Marianne Roussy-Moreau, Costas Varibopiotis, Edouard Morin, Daniel Sobrino
Spyros Laskaris, Philippe Chiffre
Alexandre Desplat
KG Productions
Wild Bunch, Elle Driver, France 2 Cinéma, Odeon
Athena Films

Konstantinos Gavras, better known as Costa-Gavras, is a Franco-Greek director, screenwriter and producer. He was born in 1933 in the region of Arcadia in Greece and moved to Athens after the Second World War. His father was a member of the Greek resistance during the War. Because of the latter’s communist political convictions, Costa-Gavras isn’t allowed to study in Greece. He emigrated to France in 1951 and arrived in Paris in 1955 to study literature at the Sorbonne. As a frequent visitor to the Cinémathèque, he enrols at IDHEC in 1956 and discovers film sets as assistant to some of the biggest names of French cinema: René Clair, René Clément, Jacques Demy, Henri Verneuil, Jean Becker, Jean Giono. . In 1965, he directed his powerful first feature, The Sleeping Car Murders, and followed up with critically acclaimed international successes, including Z (1969 – Jury Prize in Cannes & Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film), Special Section (1975 – Best Director in Cannes), Missing (1982 – Palme d’Or in Cannes & Oscar for the Best Adapted Screenplay), Music Box (1989 – Golden Bear at the Berlinale), and Amen (2002 – César for the Best Screenplay). Overall, he directed 20 feature films that did not only change cinema and our way of seeing the world, but also never shied away from denouncing injustices. His latest feature, Adults in the Room (2019) is an adaptation of the eponymous book by the former Greek Minister of Finance, Yanis Varoufakis. In 1982, Costa-Gavras is nominated president of the Cinémathèque Française, a position he occupies until 1987, and again since 2007.

As a tireless defender of human rights, Costa-Gravas is particularly well-known to have used film to explain political issues. His work is characterised by reflections on power, law and justice, oppression, violence and torture. For the most part, his films dealt with centre-right movements and regimes, including Greek conservatives inside and outside the army in Z, while State of Siege (1972) and Missing dealt with right-wing dictatorships in Latin America. In 1985, he was awarded the Spain’s Gold Medal of Merit for the Fine Arts for the entirety of his career. In 2013, he received an Honorary Magritte, as well as the Jaeger-Le Coultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award at the 76th Venice Film Festival in 2019. He is an officer of the French National Order of Merit and, since July 2019, commander of the Légion d’Honneur.

  • 2019 – Adults in the Room
  • 2012 – Le capital
  • 2008 – Eden à l‘Ouest
  • 2004 – Le couperet
  • 2002 – Amen
  • 1997 – Mad City
  • 1995 – Lumière et compagnie (série documentaire / documentary series / Dokumentarserie)
  • 1992 – La petite apocalypse
  • 1989 – Music Box
  • 1988 – Betrayed
  • 1986 – Conseil de famille
  • 1983 – Hanna K.
  • 1982 – Missing
  • 1979 – Clair de femme
  • 1975 – Section spéciale
  • 1972 – État de siège
  • 1970 – L’aveu
  • 1970 – Yves Montand (documentaire / documentary / Dokumentarfilm)
  • 1969 – Z
  • 1967 – 1 Homme de Trop
  • 1965 – Compartiment tueurs
  • 1958 – Les rates (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)