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Balkanisateur (1997)

Valkanizater (original title)
Two friends from a small Greek town travel to Bulgaria and Switzerland, hoping they can gain money from the difference in foreign exchange rates.


Sotiris Goritsas


Sotiris Goritsas, Sakis Totlis (novel)
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gerasimos Skiadaressis ... Stavros
Stelios Mainas ... Fotis
Katharina Zapatka Katharina Zapatka ... Greta
Giota Festa Giota Festa ... Eleni
Thanos Grammenos ... Kristo Kitsou
Dimitris Mavropoulos Dimitris Mavropoulos ... Sakis
Yorgos Sambanis Yorgos Sambanis ... Theodoros
Jean-Michel Ribes Jean-Michel Ribes
Lena Sabine Berg Lena Sabine Berg ... Marion (as Sabine Berg)
Yves Raeber ... Hotelier
Veselin Rankov Veselin Rankov
Meletis Georgiadis ... Turkish Driver
Andreas Natsios Andreas Natsios ... Kalamatianos
Bernhard Bettermann Bernhard Bettermann ... Bank Assistant
Snezhina Petrova Snezhina Petrova ... (as Snegina Petrova)


In dire straits, two childhood friends who struggle to eke out a living somewhere in a sleepy village of Northern Greece--the unassuming bar owner, Stavros, and his impulsive partner, Fotis--summon up the nerve to change their lives once and for all. With their risky but seemingly infallible plan pivoting around the simple notion of exchanging American dollars to Bulgarian levs and then profiting from the difference between the currency exchange rates, the desperate and inexperienced opportunists set out on a mission across the late-1990s Balkans. Now, as East meets West aboard a rickety and completely unreliable Peugeot 404, the heist that promises to set Fotis and Stavros up for life begins; however, are they prepared to accept what awaits them at the end of this long road trip? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1990s | 90s | athens | greece | greek | See All (65) »





Release Date:

16 April 1997 (Greece) See more »

Also Known As:

Balkan Express See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The movie was screened during 1997-1998 and sold 290,000 tickets. It came 1st out of 14 movies. See more »


References The Godfather (1972) See more »


Something Stupid
Written by C. Carson Parks
Performed by Frank Sinatra
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User Reviews

u don't have to like Angelopoulos to dig this one!
1 June 1999 | by naxashSee all my reviews

Yes it's true - Greece is not only country of origin of the excellent, but rather hard core art movies made by the auteur par excellence, Theo Angelopoulos: Valkanizater by Sotiris Goritsa is a very funny comedy that also has something to say about the chauvinism of both Greeks and Swiss people. But in the end, reason triumphs over nationalism. But even nationalism, horrible though it is, is funny in this film when one of the main characters complains about the lousy work that the monks Kyrillos and Methodios performed in Bulgaria. He also asks a Bulgarian guy named Vasili whether he's Greek, and he thoroughly misinterprets his answer: "ne" means NO in Bulgarian, but YES in Greek. But in the end, unity triumphs over nationalism: in Switzerland, a Turk helps the main characters. In the next village, two brothers argue about whether to help them, one wants to help them but take money from them, but in the end the more xenophile brother helps them for free.

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