Monday, May 23, 2016

Movie Review: Little England from Greece

I am still sorting out my feelings and thoughts about the Greek film, Little England. The movie is not perfect; it can be slow; and it makes leaps in story-telling that can be a bit confusing; but the film is rich and complex, and I have to admit this is a very good film.

Little England is set in the Greek Island of Andros in the 1930s through the early 1950s. (The title refers to the affluence of the island, famous for the shipping business.) Most of the men in Andros are seafarers. They are on ships for months at a time and return to Andros only for short spells. Andros' society is dominated by women who, for the most part, fend for themselves, and whose lives revolve around the seasonal comings-and-goings of their men. The women form a kind of sorority to support one another, including those who have lost their men to the sea. The people in Andros are tight-knit; it's a place where everyone is involved in other people's lives.

The movie focuses on the lives of two sisters, daughters of a strong and bitter woman (Mina) who dictates whom the young women should marry. The older daughter, Orsa, is obliged to marry a sea captain, Nikos Vatokouzis, despite the fact that she loved Spyros Matabes who comes from a humbler background. When Spyros becomes a captain himself, Mina marries off Moscha to Spyros, regardless of Orsa's and Spyros' love for each other.

To compound matters, the daughters and their husbands live in a duplex home with Orsa and Nikos on the ground floor and Moscha and Spyros on the second floor.  There are several tense scenes of Orsa listening to the sounds that Moscha and Spyros make right above her head.  It is Orsa who suffers primarily. Until the latter part of the movie, Moscha is oblivious and happily basks in her husband's physical attention when he's home.

Just like the other women in Andros, the two sisters lead their lives without their men for the most part. But, curiously, they focus their energies on the men's visits, coming to life and joy, even though short-lived, when the men are in Andros. (In one memorable scene, a mother coaxes a child out from under a table to greet his father, a parent whom the child immediately dismisses.)

The drama of Orsa, Moscha, and Spyro comes to a head when the Second World War begins and Greek ships are involved in the Mediterranean military activities.

I must warn you that the ending is not a happy one, but the movie left me somewhat spellbound.

Read also:
Movie Review: The True Story Behind Remembrance
Movie Review: The Physician, Film to Enjoy
Cecilia's Movie Reviews
Movie Review of the Irish Film "Calvary"
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea
Cecilia's Movie Review of "Mr. Turner"

Tags: movies, films, reviews, foreign films, Greece, Greek, Little England

This is all for now,

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