It is surely time for this film to be re-released and with subtitles. And then released on DVD.
The film is about the Greek resistance movement, ELAS, and the time is December 1944. The Germans have left, only to be replaced by the British who have provoked an uprising in Athens, which they are putting down with tank and airplane fire, aided by the collaborationist forces who worked with the Germans. ELAS devises a plan to blow up the Grande Bretagne hotel, which is hosting British dignitaries such as Winston Churchill and General Scobie.
The December events (in Greek the Dekemvriana) are some of the most significant in modern Greek history. The military defeat of ELAS against the British, and the subsequent diplomatic defeat against the same, sentenced the country to decades of right-wing rule under collaborators, with resistance fighters ineligible for jobs in the police force, army, education or the public service, or for pensions.
Of particular interest are the meetings amongst the British officers at the Grande Bretagne hotel, which are both historically accurate and quite chilling.
The highlight, however, is a scene where the character played by Nikos Galanos makes his way into a bar frequented by British soldiers. Galanos plays this perfectly, with only the merest twitch of the mouth indicating his feelings at the sight of the Greek women hanging round the soldiers. After suffering through 'It's a long way to Tipperary', he in turn forces the clientèle to listen to a stirring rendition of the ELAS hymn. (Clips of this scene can be found on the web.)
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