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Nick is a writer in New York when he gets posted to a bureau in Greece. He has waited 30 years for this. He wants to know why his mother was killed in the civil war years earlier. In a parallel plot line we see Nick as a young boy and his family as they struggle to survive in the occupied Greek hillside. The plot lines converge as Nick's investigations bring him closer to the answers. Written by
Robert B. Young <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Based on a true story, over 28,000 Greek children were forcibly taken from their parents and sent to various Communist countries, before the end of the Greek Civil War in 1949. The Greek Civil War was the first battle of the war against Communism and it was an important victory for the Allied Forces. See more »
This is not a comment to the movie itself. The bits I have seen show at least an accurate portrayal of rural Greece in the late 40's along with the political "turmoil" of the time. Acting was above average in general, although some members of the cast, notably Malkovich, could have done a slightly better job.
So, is this propaganda? Of course it is BUT with more grains of truth than your average propaganda film, especially an American made. Yes, Mr Gatzoyannis (unless he is ashamed to use his real family name and resorts to "Gage") had lost his mother during the civil war. He is supposed to be one-sided, who wouldn't? He wrote a book about it, good for him. Someone made a film based on it, good for them. And now, many of us are bickering about what it is, propaganda or not, who are the good and who are the bad ones and so on...
A commentator before said that war is the end of civilization. True! A civil war though makes an "ordinary" war look quite civilized and "noble". Americans surely have their experience, they have gone through a terrible civil war. We, Greeks, have our experience which, sadly, is more "fresh" - lots of people that lived through it are still around to talk about it. Kids being taken from their mothers' arms to be transported..where? Brother killing brother (literally!) and generally bringing down whatever was once dear. Who's the bad guy? Which brother gets moral high ground? The one who took to mountains, kidnapped young ones to put them through a grim life behind the Iron Curtain, laid waste to his land and his home? Or the other, who after suffering all that, imprisoned those left behind (the majority of which were not part of the armed struggle and suffered along too), exiled them to desolate barren islands (there are more than we need of those in the Aegean), made them "dance" with cats in a sack (interesting how democracy, or "democracy", can be as horrendous as communism or any other totalitarian regime) and generally held them at the "border" of society until 1974. Who gets praise and who gets blame? You don't know? I think you do!
History was always written by victors, this is no exception. What is an exception in this case is that this particular "victor" (Gage) abstained his country's drama until it "suited" him to be a part of it. Having lost a loved one, a parent, in war is no unique to him, millions of people did! Did he live the ongoing "plague" that the civil war was? From the comfort of his house, half a world away. It is almost as if I, who have never been to the US, write a book about the drama of the Indians. Whatever moral high ground he possessed he lessened being that "distanced" from the whole scenery of it and its consequences. In short, this book and film portray HIS side, not his ideology's side but his personal side. It is easy to place blame, very hard to do so for one side only!
I will not go into the politics of that period, that is for another place and another time. Decent film, worth a viewing if not for anything else for an accurate portrayal of the "scenery". No stars awarded as I have not seen it all, just bits and pieces.
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