Sophisticated, glamorous, her hair and makeup always perfect, Laura Durand was unattainable and untouchable, an adult movie star who rose above her material and cast a spell over her fans until she vanished twenty years ago. Somewhat more down to earth are Athens based bar musicians Antonis Titsanis and Christos Fertakis of retro band Speed_28 who have maintained an archive, a veritable vault, dedicated to her.
An after-hours video session, the tail end of a tape running out, a previously unseen moment, unmistakably Laura Durand – a message, pleading for her to be found, to be rescued? Both Antonis and Christos having experienced flickering VHS visions of Laura, beckoning them, they hunt the dark web for clues, and with any quest requiring a sacrifice Antonis sells his beloved vinyl collection to fund the search as they set off across Greece in the strange pursuit of Laura Durand.
Directed by Dimitris Bavellas from a script co-written with Katerina Kleitsioti, In the Strange Pursuit of Laura Durand (Η Αναζήτηση της Λώρα Ντουράντ, I anazitisi tis Lora Dourand) is a cross-country odyssey of challenges and deceptions, dead ends and clues and occasional danger, a series of shamans and totems pointing the way for Antonis and Christos (Makis Papadimitriou and Michalis Sarantis).
Despite the map they follow In the Strange Pursuit of Laura Durand loses its way in its search for meaning, perhaps hoping to discover itself along the way but never quite succeeding, the leads selfish, disruptive layabouts who wear on each other’s nerves as much as the viewer, Antonis declaring that it was their shared love for Laura which brought them together but Christos bringing nothing but complaints.
The dialogue perhaps losing something in translation, the duo are better at physical comedy, though perhaps it is better that they lack personality, almost childlike in their adoration of the semi-mythical Laura Durand, thus avoiding the worst of what a film about two middle-aged men seeking a former porn star might otherwise become.
Where it is more engaging is the different styles each phase of the film moves through as they encounter each of their contacts, one using the name J F Sebastian (a Blade Runner reference as incongruous as the prominent Buckaroo Banzai poster), becoming a black and white horror pastiche in the house of the eccentric Ms Virginia (Ivonni Maltezou) then later almost a Spaghetti Western, the quirks of the supporting cast more interesting than the leads but each frustratingly left behind almost as swiftly as they are introduced.