DCGreeks @ The Movies Reviews
once in a while, a movie comes along that makes you feel proud to be Greek.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin transports you to your grandparents' village,
with breathtaking views of the ocean and mountain hillsides, presenting an
authentic picture of our collective Greek heritage at one of history's darkest
hours. While the cinematography, the music, and the general look and
feel of the movie are excellent, the acting, accents, and story leave a lot to
must admit we had chills running down our spines throughout the opening part of
the movie. From the depictions of
the church services, to the panigiri
afterwards, to the shouts of "ZHTO!"
as the young men prepared to go to war, the first fifteen minutes of this
movie evoked more emotion than any other movie we've ever seen.
The news accounts of our victory over the Italians in Albania was like
watching history unveiled right before our eyes.
What sent both this movie and the island of Cephallonia downhill was the introduction of Captain Corelli (Nicolas Cage) and the Italians.
Don't get us wrong, the Italians added comic relief to this movie, but this movie started being more about the Italians than the Greeks. All the frolicking and the opera singing was a little too lighthearted knowing what was coming next. (Not that the wartime violence didn't make the movie much more realistic, if not a lot more bearable for the guys in the audience.) And, by the way, Nick Cage can't do an Italian accent to save his life.
The Greek characters in this movie were by far more interesting than the Italian ones. Pelagia (Penelope Cruz) at least had the Greek girl attitude down right, if not her accent. (It was better than Cage's though.) She went through the conflict that's presented to every Greek girl in history, between doing the right and expected thing and taking a risk. She had her own Penelope dilemma, while waiting for her Odysseus, in this case, Mandras, to return from the war.
the unsung hero of this movie, saves the day despite the fact that his woman
left him for the Italian Captain. Pelagia's
father, is the classic Greek father, always looking after his daughter's
happiness, while dispensing time-tested advice.
Mandras's mother (Irene Papas), provides the proper mix of love for her
son while constantly insulting him, like all our mothers have done.
Finally, the nagging and constant bickering between the geronti
on the island made this movie a lot more authentic.
(Note: While this movie had
some goats, there wasn't a single donkey in it to our recollection.
If for some reason there are no donkeys in Cephallonia, and the film
makers actually got it right, please let us know.)
are a great many lessons to be learned from Captain Corelli's Mandolin:
A mind is
a terrible thing to waste… Now
all you Greek guys out there pay attention.
We all know that Greek men are intimidated when their women are smarter
or more successful than them. Mandras
wouldn't have lost Pelagia if he had been smart, or smart enough to admit his
take a good Greek girl for granted. When
a Greek girl calls you, call her back. When you go away for a weekend, or a world war, make sure to
drop her a line. Never disrespect a
Greek girl, in front of her friends, her family, or in front of the entire
girl will always dance with someone else to make the guy she wants jealous?
Why do they always do that?
women nag too much. That's about
all we have to say about that.
girls will fall in love with any clown with a musical instrument.
This includes DJs. Ladies, if you're going to let this happen to you, at least
fall in love with someone with a big bouzouki, and not a tiny mandolin.
All in all, Captain Corelli's Mandolin is worth seeing simply for its views of Cephallonia, its presentation of the inhabitants of the village, and the most Greek names you will ever see in the credits of a movie. (We had often heard that you were supposed to wait through the credits of a movie, because there will always be one Greek in them, but this movie had enough Greeks for every movie this century.) A simple working knowledge of the Greek language adds to the experience of watching this movie, as you'll find yourself laughing at some of the jokes about 15 seconds before the rest of the audience. Even better would be if you could gather a few of your Greek friends to come with you, so you don't sound like the one idiot who thinks something is funny when the rest of the audience doesn't. Quite honestly, our viewing of this movie would not have been the same if not for the 30 other Greeks we had in the theater with us at the time. If your Greek isn't that good or all of your other Greek friends already saw it, then save your money and either go to a matinee, where you'll be the only one in the theater laughing, or wait for it to either come out on video or at a cinema and draft house. Unfortunately, judging by this weekend's poor 6th place showing, Captain Corelli's Mandolin may not be in theaters long.