Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original title: To Koritsi Me Ta Mavra
Greece, 1956. Hermes Film. Screenplay by Mihalis Kakogiannis. Cinematography by Walter Lassally. Music by Arghyris Kounadis. Production Design by Thanasis Vengos, S. Vlahos. Film Editing by Emil Provelengios. Cannes Film Festival 1956. Golden Globe Awards 1956.
Richly dramatic film by Michael Cacoyannis (Zorba The Greek), about two travellers from Athens who visit the island of Hydra and become immediately involved with local community politics. One of the visitors is immediately smitten with Marina (Ellie Lambeti), the daughter of the house where he is staying, and upon returning his feelings she reveals her woes: her recently departed sister committed suicide after being rejected by the man who is constantly after Marina, and her mother has been given a bad reputation after having been caught canoodling with a local fisherman. The town’s attitude turns from ignorant to vicious when the outsiders bring their ‘sophisticated’ ways into their backwards village, instigating a tragedy that turns on them in the end and shows that even the slightest cruelty performed on a member of a community ends up being bad for the group as a whole. A bit too much of a soap-opera to be a classic, this film is definitely blessed with an absorbingly dramatic storyline and some very good performances, not to mention a very satisfying ending. Lambeti is particularly memorable, who sadly made very few more films before her untimely death from throat cancer in 1983 at the age of 47.