Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original title: Gymnoi Sto Dromo
Greece, 1969. Finos Film. Screenplay by Giannis Dalianidis, based on the play I Geitonia ton Angelon by Iakovos Kabanellis. Cinematography by Nikos Dimopoulos. Music by Stavros Xarhakos. Production Design by Markos Zervas. Costume Design by Giannis Vouros. Film Editing by Petros Lykas.
Greek take on West Side Story has a rich industrialist’s daughter falling in love with a poor labourer and cause a rift in his neighbourhood thanks to their upstairs-downstairs dynamic. The factory workers in Piraeus are especially angered when they discover that the girl’s father owns the company responsible for the destruction of many homes (and a few fatalities) many years earlier and demand that the man release himself from the relationship. His refusal to do so on the basis of his true, albeit tortured and jealous, love for her, leads to melodrama on a level only Greeks can produce. Zoe Laskari is lovely as the female lead, while the film’s forced theatrical look is heavily appealing: Godardian solids that burst out at you everywhere and false, rich shadows that suggest an overripe allegory straight off the boards and onto the screen, with the odd musical number to really punctuate the surreal quality of it all. Good performances overcome a heavily familiar story.