The action then moves back to a luxury yacht. The men help each other out of wet-suits and already we see hints of separation within the group. Chevalier is a film exploring tension among strangers and friends, there is a clear hierarchy on show here. The Doctor, the eldest of the group and the owner of the boat favours Christos, his son in law, the rest of the men fall in line.
There is a gentle ramping up of the competition. It begins with comparisons of underwear, judgements on eating habits and general etiquette but moves to speed-cleaning competitions, IKEA shelf assembly challenges and the measuring competitors’ penises. The deadpan comedy that is so typical of the Greek New Wave goes a long way to saving this film that often plays like a Three Stooges short without the eye-gouging or nose-twisting. Instead, we are made to laugh at the desperation of the men, the futility of the competition and the folly of their macho posturing.
Why can’t the Doctor have a cigarette now and then? Why is Yorgos judged for his salad preparation? Is Demitris’s dancing really so bad that it puts him at the bottom of the scoreboard? The answer to these and many other questions are not really explored. Tsangari’s direction underscores the detachment that these men have from one another. When a blood pact is called for to bind the men together only desperate Demitris is willing to participate.
[youtube id=”oxAkbc2_vds” align=”center” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”750″]
One-upmanship is the order of the day. All of the group are shown to be pathetic in some way or another, but, this central gag loses a lot of its effectiveness as the film drags on. After a time we care as little for the result of the contest as the men do about one another, a neat trick on the part of the filmmakers but I wager that it was not intentional.