7.0/10
544
5 user 13 critic

Days of 36 (1972)

Meres tou '36 (original title)
It is 1936 in Greece, shortly before the Metaxas' dictatorship. A former drug trafficker and police informer, Sofianos, is in prison because of the assassination of a trade unionist during ... See full summary »

Writers:

(as Thodoros Angelopoulos), | 2 more credits »
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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vangelis Kazan
Kostas Pavlou ...
Sofianos
Thanos Grammenos ...
Brother of Convict
Giorgos Kyritsis ...
Kontaxis
Petros Zarkadis
Christoforos Nezer ...
Prison Director
Christos Kalavrouzos
Vasilis Tsaglos
Giannis Kandilas ...
Hostage
Petros Hoedas
Takis Doukatos ...
Chief of Police (as T. Doukakos)
Alekos Boubis ...
(as Alexis Boubis)
Giorgos Tzifos
Kaiti Ibrohori
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Storyline

It is 1936 in Greece, shortly before the Metaxas' dictatorship. A former drug trafficker and police informer, Sofianos, is in prison because of the assassination of a trade unionist during a rally. A conservative politician, Kriezis, with whom Sofianos had a homosexual relationship, visits him in prison. Using a smuggled gun Sofianos manages to take him hostage in his cell and blackmails the police in order to be released. The government is at a dead end and the country finds itself in a crisis. If they free Kriezis, they will lose the support of the democrats, if they don't, they will lose the support of the conservatives. Being incapable of dealing with the situation, the government decide to kill Sofianos. First, they attempt clumsily to poison him and then they hire a sniper to shoot him. Written by Alkistis Zografou

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

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Details

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Release Date:

5 April 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Days of 36  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part I of "A Trilogy of History" by Theodoros Angelopoulos. See more »

Connections

Followed by The Hunters (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Officials struggle with the problem of a prisoner who has taken a hostage
21 November 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a Greek movie, "Days of 36", referring to 1936. The story is dark. We see an assassination at the outset. Then a suspect is arrested and imprisoned. Somehow a gun is smuggled in to him and he takes an official as a hostage. We never see him in the cell with the hostage. The story then is mainly about the attempts of the officials (warden, a prosecutor, an army man and several others) to deal with this situation. It is a politically explosive situation. One party wants his demands ignored, the other wants him released.

In those days in Greece, the country was riven and about to go under dictatorship. The story shows the weakness of these scared, nervous and mundane officials, who don't look at all imposing, as they try to handle the incident. We also see the role of suspicion when the prisoner's lawyer tries to find who smuggled the gun in by going to a ramshackle district to meet some people. We also see the subservience of the guards who look quite jumpy, like peasants in uniforms, and unprofessional. The authority of the fragile state is in the hands of this hired help.

The director is Theo Angelopoulos. The direction is absolutely stunning and excellent. He would go on to make a number of other exceptional movies. He films in great confidence, with a minimum of dialog, quite often an absence of music, unusual staging that often places multiple persons standing erectly and without motion and at other times has them moving and weaving in nervous motion that shows apprehension. The prison is photographed in highly creative ways that are very atmospheric and noir. The ending is downbeat.

There is a sequence in which the background music is "Sweethearts on Parade" followed by the great Quintet of the Hot Club of Paris, Django Reinhardt on guitar, Stephane Grappelli on violin doing "Georgia". But the highlight of the movie may well be a different musical sequence. The prisoner demands music. The soldiers bring a phonograph into the courtyard beneath all the cells. One soldier puts on a record, and we hear a female singing a song. This is a tremendously moving event, equal to that in "Paths of Glory" when the German girl sings. The prisoners are silhouetted against the bars. The impression of men being caged is very strong. Their distance and absence from both women and the sensibilities that women bring out is men is apparent. Their need for music is apparent. We get the feeling that many of these men are political prisoners, like the man accused of the assassination, which he denies. The camera pans over cell after cell. You can see and hear the gypsy-influenced love song tango on Youtube.

I couldn't follow parts of the plot. The dialog was cryptic and the story jumped, but maybe next time I'll understand it better. My rating is for the cinematography and direction, which is novel and so visual.


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