Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Giorgos Karamihos, Fenia Papadodima, Lena Kitsopoulou, Giannis Angelakas, Katerina Karayanni
Director: Panos Karkanevatos
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests
Studio: Vanguard Cinema Release Date: 04/27/2004 Run time: 112 minutes Rating: Nr
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Erika Borsos | Gulf Coast of FL, USA | 07/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This fascinating film begins with a bonfire in a village around which a lyra player and drummer march in circular fashion ... while a yia yia (grandmother) and several young ladies dance to the hypnotic tune played by the musicians. It is the feast day of Saint Constantine which combines with some ancient ritual sacrifice that involves a young bull. All of it is very primoridal and pagan feeling, the viewer participates in an other-worldly spiritual primitive past. The camera captures the lyra player's trance-like features and the faces of the crowd, honing in on one young lady in particular, Constantina, who is also mesmerized by the event. Later that day, Nikolas, the lyra player and Constantina walk off into an abandoned house and enact a ritual of their own, which is an act as old as mankind itself ... The cinematography is outstanding as these events gradually unfold before the viewer's eyes ... wondering where it will all lead ... They are both young, he is around 20 years, she is about 18.
Nikolas is the son of a shepherd, a goat-herder. Niko lives with his parents in a stone-building on a steep hill/mountain side. His father reprimands and nags him for neglecting the flock of goats in pursuit of other activities. Niko rides his moped to the bus stop waiting for Constantina to arrive home from high school. He manages to get her attention and separate her from her girl friend to pursue his love interest. He declares his willingness to marry, she chides him for wanting to take on so many problems at his young age. In later scenes, Constantina is introspective and brooding ... Her brothers Sperios and Christopher are in a rage as they prepare to go hunting with loaded guns. The viewer senses this is a bad omen for Nikolas ...
Nikolas hears of their anger ... He floats on a row boat out into the river, essentially willing to become a sacrifice for his love, his passionate feelings of love for their sister. One hears shots, the boat capsizes, the viewer fears the worst. Nikolas is bobbing up and down in the water, sinking further, nearly drowning. From a previous scene, we know he does not know how to swim. By some miracle, he survives, a good friend offers Niko money and advises he leave the village and go to the city. Unknown to Niko, Constantina had become pregnant and had been taken to the city for an abortion ... The events and scenes are very artistically portrayed which makes it difficult at times for the viewer who does not speak/understand Greek [despite subtitles] to follow the story line precisely. Scenes flow into other scenes and the out of sequence times make it diffcult to follow the surreal and dream-like events. While it is a great technique, nevertheless, the viewer is left hanging at times. For this flaw, I deduct one star. Otherwise, it is a tremendous film which gives the viewer a feeling of wonder and suspense as the story unfolds ...
In the city, Niko works at a butcher's shop, rents a sparse but clean room and tries building a life ... He is lost in a new world the maze of city-life. One night, he hears a female neighbor crying herself to sleep, he takes out his lyra and plays a tune for her which soothes her sorrowing spirit. The neighbor introduces herself and later finds a better job for Niko. She introduces him to a tour bus company where he becomes a driver. However, Viktor one of the other drivers is a Russian emigre who gets Niko involved in an illegal activity, "special jobs" of smuggling illegal immigrants, Russian women who are forced into prostitution and exotic dancing. As a village-born young man, Niko empathizes with the plight of one particular illegal named, Elena, who does not want to participate in this life-style. He offers her a place to sleep ... his own bed ... while he sleeps on the floor.
It turns out Constantina's fate took her to the same city ... Her parents sent her to become a sales clerk in a boutique. By chance, she seeks Niko driving his tour bus and a spark of her past love is aroused. She sees Niko with Elena and believes all is lost between them. Later, Elena window shops at the boutique where Constantina works. She invites Elena to try on the dress she admires. They begin talking and Constantina brings up Niko. Each denies he is anything special. Constantina learns where Niko lives and visits him. He appears in suspended animation as he tells her, everything has changed. He feels lost ... in limbo ... without direction.
The film concludes with some unexpected twists that revolve around Niko's involvement with smuggling illegal immigrants. In the very end both Nikolas and Constantina return to the village and meet. Both visit the abandoned house ... her brothers conclude at last, there is no reason for them to interfere in her life. She had admitted she was not forced to do anything against her will. As in real life, the two young people eventualy make peace with the emotional impact of past events on their lives. They have no false illusions. The viewer is not given a fake "happy-ever-after" ending. Instead one is left with the gut level feeling this couple may work through the problems that happened because of "that night". They could yet ... build a satisfing life together. Ayone interested in Greek culture and life would enjoy this film for its beautiful scenery, the village, mountains, and how family life is so accurately portrayed. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)"