Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original title: To Klama Vgike Ap’Ton Paradeiso
Greece, 2001. Antenna TV, G. Kordopatis, Greek Film Center, Safe Company, Village Roadshow Productions. Screenplay by Thanasis Papathanasiou, Michalis Reppas. Cinematography by Kostas Gikas. Produced by Elena Hatzialexandrou, Giorgos Kordopatis. Music by Afroditi Manou. Production Design by Antonis Halkias. Costume Design by Evelyn Sioupi. Film Editing by Ioanna Spiliopoulou.
Fans of classic Greek cinema will not want to miss this hilarious spoof that makes unapologetic fun of the movies it parodies. The essential plot, lifted liberally from films like I Arhontissa Ki O Alitis, A Crazy Family and Mikroi Kai Megaloi En Drasei, is basically about a rich woman who loves a poor man who eventually loves her daughter. The rich woman (who always has a painting on her wall that happens to match what she’s wearing) is also the daughter of a rich industrialist (well, who isn’t in these films) whose uninsured boat has sunk and caused a sailor to go blind. The sailor’s brokenhearted mother (Anna Panagiotopoulou) also has to deal with her miserable daughter who lost her boyfriend to the rich woman. At some point everyone turns out to be someone’s long lost kid, and there are long flashbacks that tell tales of World War II spies and innocent love thwarted in the old mountain village. Awkwardly directed and somewhat sloppily put together, what really makes this one zing is the terrific dialogue, which does such a fantastic job of sending up the conventional, unidimensional (and often classist) way that characters were described in Greek movies. The performances are all wonderful, the best of them Panagiotopoulou as the put-upon village mother who once went undercover in a Cabaret singing Marlene Dietrich songs for her Nazi lover. The title is a play on the Aliki Vougiouklaki-Dimitri Papamichael hit To Xylo Vgike Apo Ton Paradeiso.