20 January 2019 | ttetpos
Subtlety, and - I wish the movie were longer!
Really very well done! An outstanding work of art: it's a personal profile of a truly great person who was an integral participant during an intense period of mind-bending and heart-wrenching historical developments.
This movie is strictly about the person; it depicts the moral integrity, the values and the cultivated, humble, caring and thoughtful behavior of Eleftherios Venizelos as he carefully navigated himself and the entire country with him through impossible tasks and thus became the symbol of all that is great and all that is terrible in modern Hellenic history.
That particular history is the missing element of this movie. Due to political reasons and an educational system deliberately full of gaps and holes that obscure the history of Greece, many generations of people have grown up not really knowing what exactly took place in the crucial years covered by this movie. One might say this is a weak point of the film, but it's important to remember that its creator - Director Pantelis Voulgaris - is an acutely aware and politically alert person: if he wanted to focus on the history and politics of the era it would have been very simple for him to add a documentary-style parameter to the movie, detailing the dates and significant events. But his decision to NOT include such a parameter allowed a more noble cause to be served: the depiction of a very controversial and much maligned person's true character and integrity. The true character of Venizelos rises up to the surface with some pain, sorrow, excitement... but mostly through subtleties. Subtleties are the colors with which the movie's Director paints the portrait of the main character. The profile of Venizelos in the movie goes from the surface levels to the deeper and then the deepest of human qualities: to those concerned with the shallow he initially appears as a quiet and perhaps ineffective bourgeois; quickly we see an astute political and military mind at work placed at the service of the highest aspirations of the nation for Liberty and Justice; and as it unfolds we get to know the intellectual; the hands-on philosopher-in-praxis; the honest and caring leader who is also committed to self-reflection, self-criticism and constant re-evaluation.
The movie is long - I wish it were longer! It provides ample opportunity to get to know Venizelos through his silences, his gestures, his gazes and his words during intimate encounters. The ending scene back in his birthplace Crete, and his encounter of an old comrade-in-arms left me in tears. It might be that the entire movie was conceived in order to end in this way: an affirmation of native roots, of enduring bonds, enduring values, an affirmation of the MORAL and the REAL.