14 March 2007


Tonight we dine in ... heck

I thought it was some camp local production; it is magnifique.

The posters had been up in the Orpheus and I thought, "That sounds a good laff for a dull night."

So Ioanna and I turn up on the opening night and, dude, the queue is round the corner. Ioanna gives me a "look" and goes off to find her friend in the back office to seat us where she can smoke thru the showing. This is quickly done. What is less easy in this non-smoking flea-pit is finding where the NON-puffers can sit. It's like Rows F-K, Block A, somewhere on the left of the screen.

So the movie starts and it's a Frank Miller number except not as cool as Sin City.

Wow! Those Sparta Tourism Bureau types must be creaming their - er - breastplates over this PR that drachmas can't buy.

The front rows are full of schoolkids straight from their desks on Skyros Street and they *love* the way Lay-on-EYE-tas is pronounced, so much so they are calling it out over the soundtrack. A couple of codgers with cigs drooping rise and bellow with accompanying cuffing gestures and the noise abates. Ah, the rule of law ....

When the half-naked oracle starts writhing around with them decadent Persians, Ioanna gives me a dig in the ribs and a stage whisper, "Bet you wish you'd paid more attention in school, nai?"

I try to find her hand but she removes it, reminding me that, for authenticity's sake during *this* movie, I am more suitably occupied fondling the gnarled stalwart to our left. I knew there was a reason I never took to togas and history.

It's wonderfully stylised and sombre and the battle truly *is* awesome.

Ever since my classics teacher read out the line, I've tried to imagine arrows blotting out the sun and fierce warriors of noble mien quipping about scrapping in the shade. And now I know. Loipon!

Splendidly bloody and no nonsense about correctitude: the goodies are tall and straight and perfectly formed and proportioned AND WHITE, whereas the baddies are decadent as all hell and have a bazillion piercings and get up to all sorts of naughty stuff with slaves and whores and large animals ... and are pretty well all dark-skinned or Asian and many MANY are physically deformed just in case we're in danger of confusion.

As we walk out, Ioanna joins some moussed schoolkids in amused discussion over the noble Spartans' 'lone' stand at Thermopylae. All agree that even the school charlady knows they were part of an alliance (including dem Athenians) who fit them kinky Persians at sea.

It gets better: the movie has actually broken Greek box-office records. Despite crap reviews, right from the opening weekend (ie Ioanna and me), more than 325,000 people saw the film. The previous Thursday-to-Sunday opening record for a film was 'Pirates of The Caribbean II' with 220,000 ticket sales.

Why it's a hit: Time mag comes up with 7 reasons why '300' is a hit. Eight if you include coining the adjective 'spartanian'.

Dept of Where There's a Hit there's a Protesting Twit with a Writ: Groan. Someone had to hit a Farsi-cal note.

Iranian Ire: Tidy piece in Athens News on how the Iranians are being utter wets about this whole thing.

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