Voting for MEPs in Cyprus last week saw a large upset. Was it just life imitating art asks CONSTANTINOS PSILLIDES

The 24-year-old YouTube prankster Fidias Panayiotou was all people talked about last week. Surprising everyone – even himself – Fidias was not only elected MEP but also managed one of the biggest election upsets in recent history. Without party support or even an ad budget to speak of, Fidias got a stunning 19.3 per cent of the vote,

As the old saying goes, life imitates art and a young outsider exceeding expectations is a trope we have seen in many movies. If you want to keep that election buzz going, here are some movies to watch!

Black Mirror: The Waldo Moment

Only minutes after Fidias won, images from this episode started making the rounds on social media. It is easy to understand why: it tells the story of how a young man played on people’s dislike of politicians and fascination with social media to win an election, an outcome that at first seemed laughable.

Failed stand-up comedian Jamie now works as the voice and animator of Waldo, a children’s TV animated blue bear. After an interview where Waldo uses vulgarities to interview a conservative politician, Waldo’s popularity skyrockets and the show’s producer comes up with a crazy stunt: the blue bear should run in the election. Jamie begrudgingly agrees and follows his producer as they pull increasingly unhinged pranks on other candidates. People respond to Waldo’s antics and Jamie slowly realises with horror that he – or rather, his alter ego – can win the election.

Man of the Year

Back in the early 2000s late-night talk shows were not as political as they are today, focusing on entertainment. That all changed when stand-up comedian Jon Stewart took over hosting Comedy Central’s The Daily Show in 1998. Stewart was highly political and he refocused his show on political satire and social commentary, a recipe copied by almost every host today. When Stewart’s popularity was at his zenith, Hollywood asked the obvious question: what if he ran for President?

Enter, 2006’s Man of the Year. The brilliant Robin Williams stars as Tom Dobbs, a late-night comedy show host who decides as a joke that he would join the presidential election as an independent candidate. He is witty, fresh and funny and the people love him but he doesn’t stand a chance of becoming President. That is until a computer glitch accidentally makes him the President. Now Dobbs is faced with a choice: does he make good on his promises or does he go back to being a comedian?

Head of State

Talking about unlikely political candidates winning an election, another movie with a similar premise was released three years prior, called Head of State. Chris Rock wrote, directed and starred in the movie where he played Mays Gilliam, an alderman in an area in Washington DC who is picked by the Democratic Party to be their presidential nominee after the original candidate and running mate both die in an accident. Mays, who is unaware of the Party’s plan decides to go off script and start speaking from the heart, striking a chord with the people.

The film itself is not great, the plot is paper thin and anyone can guess the ending just from the premise. Predictability aside, this movie is worth seeing simply for the late Bernie Mac, a gifted comedic actor who sadly passed away in 2008. Mac is simply hilarious, co-starring as Mays’ brother.

Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite

“Vote for Pedro”! This memorable 2004 quirky comedy centres around Napoleon, an awkward teenager who decides to help an exchange student run for school president. Napoleon is far from popular; he is socially inept and obsessed with dance, living in mortal fear that the rest of the students will make fun of him. The film is funny, heartfelt and provides some absurd moments that made film history!


A somewhat controversial movie when it was first released, Bulworth is Warren Beaty’s attempt at tackling social issues through comedy. Is it successful? Eh.

Beaty stars as Jay Bulworth, a Democrat Senator from California who is fed up with politics and life in general. Seeing no way out and no point in living, Bulworth contracts an assassin to kill him so his family can get a 10 million life insurance. Things take a turn when during an election Bulworth decides to be honest and is rewarded with a surge in popularity. As he finds new purpose in life, Bulworth realises he made a grave mistake.