Unquestionably, Little England, Pantelis Voulgaris’ latest film, is made for the big screen: it is monumental and expansive, a fresco structured around long shots with expressive depth of field and a unique visual perspective transporting spectators to the precarious boundaries between pathos and sentimentalism. The film is framed by the excess of emotions that permeate both story and representation: there is no distancing vacuum in its mise-en-scène: everything is full of a powerful rhetoric that suspends the resistances of the spectator through its rejection of both naturalism and illusionism at the same time.
The story itself is quiet complex and intriguing: set in the 1930s and 1940s, it is about the love affair of two sisters with the same man, within the provincial society on the island of Andros (affectionately called ‘Little England’, as its small society imitated to social organisation of the mighty English naval empire). Their mother (Aneza Papadopoulou), the viper, as she is called, decides, for reasons of financial security, to marry the second daughter Moscha (Sophia Kokkali) with the man that the first is in love with (Andreas Konstantinou) and the first Orsa (Penelope Tsilika) with a powerful and wealthy shipowner (Maximos Moumouris). After her decision, the house, which was built by herself and her husband who is travelling for years in distant countries, becomes the haunted place of a bizarre and tense coexistence. The secret love remains secret until Moscha’s husband is killed during the Second World War in the most explosive moment of the film. Orsa’s mental state disintegrates, while later her letters to her first love are discovered and explain to her sister and her own family how it happened. ... More
Eleftheria Rania Kosmidou’s book European Civil War Films: Memory, Conflict and Nostalgia is a monograph on the study of the neglected subject of European civil war films that attempts to displace frameworks for the understanding of historical trauma and its role in cultural memory from a preoccupation with World War II and the Holocaust to the subject matter of Civil War.
The book examines the problematic of cinematic postmemory through a series of comparative case studies of late twentieth-century European films about the civil wars in Spain, Ireland, Former Yugoslavia, and Greece. Through a close study of Fernando Trueba’s Belle Époque (1992), José Luis Cuerda’s Butterfly’s Tongue (1999), Ken Loach’s Land and Freedom (1995) and The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006), Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins (1996), Emir Kusturica’s Underground (1995), Danis Tanović’s No Man’s Land (2001), and Theo Angelopoulos’s The Travelling Players (1975), Kosmidou explores how these films break with historical taboos of representation, what type of historical allegorizations they advance and what kind of cultural memory they create. According to the writer, the films make use of various stylistic and representational elements and succeed in making decisive contributions to cultural memory. Film narratives often take a romanticised and melodramatic approach to the Spanish Civil War, the Irish Civil War is pictured through personal and family relations, satire and comedy are prominent modes of representation in the films about the Former Yugoslavian Civil War, while Theo Angelopoulos’s Brechtian treatment of the Greek Civil War invites critical distance from the audience. ... More