Grandfather: "Thank you. We've worked very hard to make it that way."
As the film continues to display the increasingly sinister and alarming dynamics between the Grandfather and the people around him, one gets the feeling that something horrifying is going on behind the scenes. Is this feeling brought on by the fact that the film intentionally keeps the exact family ties between the members ambiguous long enough for this to become uncomfortable? Or because everybody in the family seems terrified of Grandfather, to such an extent that they've developed visible coping mechanisms?
According to the director, the film can be interpreted as a post-bankruptcy statement, the dysfunctional family being a metaphor for the state of the Greek nation with the controlling and corrupt pater familias at its head, trying to navigate their disastrous financial situation.
This film provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: The thought of seeing one's children and grandchildren condemned to a life of violence, physical and sexual slavery and prostitution, and being powerless to stop it is terrifying.
- Asshole Victim: Grandfather gets stabbed to death by his wife after he sells young Alkmini to a pedophile.
- Berserk Button: Grandfather really hates it when his family talks back to him.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Grandfather is quiet, soft-spoken and very respectful towards other people such as neighbors or teachers, and even with his own family he rarely raises his voice. He is the most morally bankrupt character in the film.
- Big Bad: Grandfather is the film's antagonist.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: A family of terrified women and children suffering under the horrific abuse of the Grandfather. Because of the poisonous and violent environment, even the women are abusive to each other.
- Big Secret: Although Eleni's friend and neighbor seems to have an inkling about what is going on behind the scenes, the family manages to keep the truth about the horrific abuse happening in its midst under wraps.
- Book-Ends: The film begins and ends with the image of a closed door.
- Broken Bird: All the women in the family, with the most immediately obvious one being Eleni.
- Child by Rape: Depending on your interpretation, Eleni's three children are the result of the repeated rapes she was subjected to by her father (and possibly the men she was forced to sleep with). The age difference between Eleni and her sister Myrto strongly suggests that Myrto might be Eleni's child as well.
- Denied Food as Punishment: At one point, Grandfather does this to his entire family.
- Determinator: In spite of years of horrible abuse, Myrto seems to still harbor a fighting spirit and remains defiant.
- The Dreaded: Grandfather is this for his entire family.
- Driven to Suicide: The young Angeliki. The reason? Her aunt (and possibly sister) Myrto told her about the sexual abuse, prostitution and slavery that awaits her once she becomes eleven year old. Angeliki chose death rather than to lead such a life.
- Fan Disservice: The actress playing Myrto is very attractive, but the circumstances in which we see her half naked are brutal and highly uncomfortable.
- Little Alkmini's dance is uncomfortably suggestive.
- Faux Affably Evil: From the outside, Grandfather looks like a mild-mannered and caring man who is just trying to help his family survive. In reality, he physically, mentally and emotionally abuses his entire family and sexually abuses his daughters as soon as they get eleven years old. He also prostitutes three of his daughters, including Alkmini, who is a very young child.
- Four Is Death: The family's apartment is on the fourth floor.
- Gory Discretion Shot: We see a small part of Grandfather's stabbed and bloody corpse towards the end of the film.
- Parental Incest: Not only does Grandfather rape his teenage daughter Myrto, but it's implied that Eleni's three children might have been fathered by him as well.
- Pet the Dog: In one scene, Grandfather tries to throw out the remaining cake from Angelikis birthday party, only to drop it and begin to cry. Its perhaps the only moment in which he shows genuine sadness over another human being.
- Sadist: The second man who rapes Myrto. He not only slaps her, but seems pleased with her obvious pain and humiliation. While the first man complains to Grandfather that Myrto did not smile enough, the second man was perfectly content.
- Shrinking Violet: Eleni.
- Starts with a Suicide: The film opens up with Angeliki calmly climbing over the balcony rail and jumping to her death while her family is cutting her birthday cake in the background.
- Stepford Smiler: Every woman in the household, but poor Eleni in particular, with her wide smile and empty gaze.
- Tranquil Fury: When Grandmother finds out that Grandfather sold little Alkmini to a pedophile, she calmly waits until her husband goes to bed, then takes a knife and stabs him to death.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: The way little Alkmini dances is enough to make one highly uncomfortable.
- Virgin in a White Dress: Angeliki's white birthday dress.
- Would Hurt a Child: Grandfather regularly slaps the younger children. And when the girls become eleven...