17 July 2006

Corelli's Mandoline

Every taverna has TV these days, now since the end of that soccer stuff tuned to Star channel's movies with Greek subtitles.

Had that Corelli's Mandoline flick the other night:

  • Nicolas Cage as the mopey mandoline plucking Captain Antonio Corelli
  • Pen√©lope Cruz as Kafalonian babe, Pelagia, albeit speaking with an accent you and I more closely associate with our noble leaf blowers
  • Hammy Brit thespian John Hurt, more recently famous as the camp Da Vinci aristo, playing Dr. Iannis
  • And Christian Bale as the equally bizarrely accented Mandras.

    You know the story, don't you?

    Cage is Italian officer, Captain Corelli - usual hang dog expression, totally outta-kennel accent - who tries to get along with the occupied Greeks by joining in the local Bumbershoots, etc.

    Cruz plays the local gal who catches his eye.

    I tried watching the DVD with my girls but couldn't take NC's appalling accent.

    Watching it in Greece, with Greek subtitles, was a different matter.

    It's based in Kefalonia, famous even among xenophobic Greeks for being horridly unfriendly to *everyone*, a characteristic that the novel might have brought out but the movie certainly missed.

    So we've got Cage plunking dreamily away and falling for la Cruz. We've got pouting Penny casting burning looks in his direction but reined in by the gruff John Hurt.

    As soon as I explained to Alex that this was a famous weepy set in Kefalonia, he took a guffawing interest and called everyone else's attention to it.

    I can't emphasise enough how famed the Kefaloniki are for their unfriendliness.

    As the subtitles rolled, the locals' laughter rose in hilarity.

    It's as unlikely as a foppish Redcoat with a ukulele finding himself billeted down South and plinking his way into the heart and eponymous cut-offs of the local Daisy Dukes.

    Well, once the locals got the hang of it, and had called their mates around, they were bellowing out suggested 'alternatives' to Cruz's responses; these were NOT Sunday school lingo. Attracted by the noise, out came the ladies from the kitchen who also joined, shrieking the while at the dulcet subtitles delivered by Cruz.

    I understood not one word and was told that nice boys like me should remain in ignorance.

    "Girl in Kefalonia," said Alex, gesturing to the manly bulge in his jeans, "she like ....". From under the counter he produced a cleaver and a garlic press.

    "Like so."


    Zach Works said...

    The novel misses the particular "charms" of Kefalonians as well. The quaint villagers are even shown to be (if memory serves) quite kind to the poor British officer parachuted in to organize the resistance. He dropped in with a swagger stick and a public school boy's Greek and couldn't figure out why the natives didn't understand the dialect of Homer. For some reason the ignorant rustics thought he was some sort of fallen angel and fed him because he seemed incapable of taking care of himself.

    Sounds like you might get a slightly ruder welcoming if you dropped in on a Kefalonian shepherd's flock in the middle of the night. Insert all manner of sheep-molestation jokes here.

    Busker said...

    LOL. Great comment and equally good to hear from you.
    Don't think I have an email address for you, altho' anything of slightest interest gets plonked down in this blog so I suppose I'm already in touch. Cheers!