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Ola einai dromos (1998)

Three people head towards a turning point in their lives: at a dig in Philippi, an archaeologist discovers an unlooted tomb; at a bird sanctuary in Thrace, a game warden pays back a poacher... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Thanasis Vengos ...
Antonis
Giorgos Armenis ...
Tsetsenoglou
Kostas Kazanas
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stella Kazazi
Angeliki Lemoni
Yannis Mohlas
Efthimis Pappas ...
Dead son
Regina Remencius
Efi Stamouli
Alexandros Tsakiris
Stergios Tzaferis
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Storyline

Three people head towards a turning point in their lives: at a dig in Philippi, an archaeologist discovers an unlooted tomb; at a bird sanctuary in Thrace, a game warden pays back a poacher in his own coin; in a small provincial town, a middle-aged factory owner goes berserk when his wife leaves him taking their two small children.

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Drama

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Release Date:

13 May 1999 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

It's a Long Road  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Connections

Remade as Vietnam: Ola einai dromos... (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"On this very day, Dionysos has freed you"
30 November 2014 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

This is an essential glimpse into Greek soul, fundamental in any list of cinema from here for anyone who wants to know a bit about the people, in particular the much apotheosized third segment (it's an omnibus of three stories) but the whole is worth tracing. 

An archeology professor, this is the filmmaker, takes it upon himself to unearth with the help of his crew something fundamentally ancient from the earth itself, this happens to be the skeleton of a soldier which sets off its own story of memory and loss, but it points at large to the memory, the internal narrative, of something that rests in the ground of collective soul.

And what does he bring to light? It's the same predicament that Kavafis wrote his poems about and Greeks face when they mull about their place, one of finding ourselves with the burden of so much narrative to placate; memory, history, ancestors.

The filmmaker eulogizes this fixation with something lost and ineffable, a lost son, a rare bird that nests in the ancestral place and pulls us back there, with a solemn air that Greeks will find familiar, the same yearning gives rise to some of the most deeply felt music and poetry from any country (as well as nationalism) but in the long run I find it to be a refuge for despair and selfpity, it's not something I can build a worldview around.

It's in the film; the first segment climaxes with a journey to the mountains, the hermitage where a vision is encountered but this soldier turns the professor back, there is no son to be found there anymore but the father still clings to the image. The second story shows a flame of bygone youth and an old uncle who have both grown roots by the river, unwilling to move on.

(For anyone who wonders where the woe and fixation comes from, do not forget that the historical capital of Hellenism is not Athens, it's Constantinople, and one of the richest narratives around here is about lost homes as recent as our grandfathers' time. Townships scattered around the country, including the one I write this from, are designated as "New" because the "old" ones where refugees came from are no longer Greek.)

But I push all that to the side, it's stifling itself. It's the third segment that makes this worthwhile, rising above mere platitude.

Leading up to it we saw noble characters, the third one is a womanizing louse, another archetypal figure. He also has to face the loss of loved ones (his wife abandons him with the kids) but now it can be seen to be his fault. The spoken word in the first two was theatric monologue, another Greek burden, now the face carries all the sorrow, he only utters two or three lines each one a classic quote around here. And in a brushstroke of crazy inspiration, the hermitage of atonement now becomes a cheap club by the interstate highway in the middle of nowhere, so called "dog" clubs are scattered throughout the country. Greek viewers will appreciate it ironically as a place of trashy entertainment.

You'll know what happens when you see it, the film is a cult item here for just this piece. I saw it recently in a festival screening with people in attendance speaking the lines out loud.

Suffice to say that everything inside the club is of the dazed mind of this man, the cheaply perfumed women, the dingy atmosphere, it's what led him to where he is. Suffice to say that the songs wallow about losing a woman but now we process in a tongue- in-cheek manner because of the place.

It is as ancient as anything else from here; a recently unearthed Orphic inscription from around Plato's time reads "Now you have died and now you have come into being, on this same day. Tell Persephone that Bacchios (Dionysos) himself has freed you." It's the same yearning to transcend suffering that surfaces across religious icons of saints and zeimbekiko dance.

Watch it to see the ecstatic release, the man shedding his own self that he has set fire to and walking away, dying and coming into being now, on the same day. But has he learned anything about what creates his own suffering, has he been truly freed? And this is also Greek.


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