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"Stella is probably considered, as the best Greek film of all times! Based on J.Kampanellis theatrical play "Stella with the red gloves" this movie gave a new direction to Greek cinema at 1955 , not only because of its subversive story but also of its fresh and inventive filming . When every woman's dream was to get married, settle down and accomplish a petty bourgeois life Stella went right the opposite way. She wanted to be free and live a non conformist life ,with the man she loved as long as their love was still alive. This happens till she meets Miltos the definite man of her life. Although, she only wants to live in passion with him, he finally ,like all the other ordinary men demands from her to marry him. She accepts his proposition against her will but at last, the day of her marriage, she leaves him, leading the end of the story towards an ancient Greek tragedy's closure. Metaphorically Stella represents her country in the decades of 40's and 50's , always wanting to be free but constantly being suppressed by foreign forces. In this movie marriage and family life represent the rape of social freedom. The magnificent direction of M. Cacoyiannis is very much close to Italian neorealism. The wonderful score and the songs of the film are written by Manos Hadjidakis. But above all there is "the last Greek godess":Melina Mercouri. Melina Mercouri is not only excellent as Stella but I think that she is Stella herself ! Even though, she lost the first prize for an actress in a leading role at Cannes film festival of 1955, she won "a better one" by meeting there the man of her life : Jules Dassin. Together they made :NEVER ON SUNDAY"
At last a Greek masterpiece in DVD!
tolisgr | Athens Greece | 08/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most sought-out movies is finally out on DVD!!! I do not understand why a B&W DVD with MONO sound and NO digital remastering should cost that much. "Stella" is probably the best Greek movie ever, Melina Mercouri is breathtaking but surely something could be done restoring it! The copy looks like a good VHS recording. We've come to expect far more from DVDs - just look what has been done in "Gone with the wind" and other cinema masterpieces. And no extras (except filmographies of the main actors), even the chapters could have been more!"
Mercouri Tour de Force
Paul Giannakakos | 04/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A young and quite lovely Melina Mercouri, in one of her few extant Greek films, directed by the brilliant Greek director Michael Cacoyiannis, playing her classic role: the fiery, independent woman who wants to live her own life on her own terms. The film operates on another level as a metaphor for Greece and its relations with the Great Powers, who each in turn have desired to possess and control that beautiful ancient land. Like Greece, Stella insists on making her own way in the world, and would rather die free than live in servitude. In addition to its thrilling performances and profound theme, the film is blessed with a fabulous soundtrack by Manos Hadjidakis, who, using as his raw material the soulful music of the Greek lower class, rendered some of the most beautiful melodies of the 20th century."
...archetypal fiery femme fatale,a free spirit in revolt ...
A. Siaravas | LONDON, KENSINGTON United Kingdom | 08/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The story of a rebellious young Bouzouki performer named Stella (Mercouri) who abhors marriage, defies the rules of conventional morality, and pays for a freedom denied her by the men who love her...Based on the play, Stella with the Red Gloves by Iakovos Kambanellis. Melina Mercouri stars in her debut film role as a bouzouki singer and dancer who abhors marriage, defies the rules of conventional morality and pays for a freedom denied her by the men who love her. Michael Cacoyannis' second film. "Melina Mercouri [is] beautifully controlled...There is a pervasive sense of atmosphere that allows the characters to become an organic part of the streets and the houses used for location (the scene with Stella triumphantly riding an open truck to show the neighbors her lover's gift is among the funniest and best observed) and the folklore material (chiefly bouzouki dances and music by Manos Hatzidakis) is dexterously used to enliven the plot" (International Film Guide).Excellent soundtrack! Music by Manos Hatzidakis, played by a folk orchestra conducted by Vasilis Tsitsanis."
Maverick film-making that was way ahead of its time
Abhijoy Gandhi | Philadelphia, USA | 01/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"STELLA / Greece 1955 (3 STARS)
17 December 2003: I had never seen a Greek film before, and Stella made me realize how that was my loss. In one of the most lovable characters ever depicted, Melina Mercouri plays the boisterous character of a night-club singer who's spirit cannot be curbed. The film is light years ahead of its peers and compares with films such as Cabaret which was made decades later.
* Even though some of the filmmaking is technically crude, the Director's vision shines through and Stella's motivations are painstakingly established with the skill of an auteur. Greek culture with its boisterous cacophony is showcased with pride, as we discover that Stella despite her frolicking ways sets herself the highest standards of integrity and is one of the most honest people you will ever meet.
* The plot is in no real hurry, and ambles along primarily because there are few sub-plots to drive the narrative. But even as we come to the end of the film, a gloom palls over as we realize that we're headed into a deadlock and the film cannot end in hunky-dory fashion, even though we wish it to.
* The interaction between Stella and her would-be mother-in-law is particularly heart-warming because of the honesty of their mutual distaste for each other.
* The character of the footballer is well etched out and as the narrative progresses, we get the sense that the same stubbornness with which he so successfully woos Stella is at some point bound to boomerang on the couple.
* I found the camera angles particularly maverick and avant garde for 1955, and there's a particular scene near the climax whether the inter-cut close-ups of the two characters build up a rhythm. Here's where the technician's skills are on full display as the pace works its way up, and we have a sequence way ahead of its time, what with hand-held POVs and wide close-up giving that crazy world feel.
I highly recommend this film to any student of film history and to film-lovers who are driven by watching some of the great cinema of its time - for that's what Stella will always be - cinema way ahead of its time."