Greek Middle Class Struggles in “Family Member”

In 2015 Greek Cyprus Sophia (Yioala Klitoa) and her husband Yorgos (Christopher Greco) are owners of a mini-mart and the mega marts and the Greek financial crisis are giving hard times to the family making ends meet. They need an extension from the bank for loan repayments, their daughter “urgently” needs a 50 Euro pair of jeans and their son claims he is the only boy without a mobile phone in his class and to top things off their hydro bill is through the roof. The pension cheque from the government for Sophia’s dad, who lives with the family, really helps them in their quest to hold creditors at bay. Unfortunately Sophia’s father dies but wanting his pension cheques to continue they keep his death a secret and bury him themselves telling everyone he is the countryside visiting friends.

This scam works well for a couple of months and then a government inspector wants to meet the deceased father. Well it just so happens Yorgos catches a senior shoplifting a can of sardines from the store. A bright light goes off in his head and that is to use this Mr. Theodorous, as a stand in for deceased Papu (Grandfather). Mr. T agrees to do this so in he moves with the family. He lived alone with minimal contact with a daughter in the United Kingdom so he seems to enjoy his new family.

Mr. T wows the government inspector. So the scam seems safe to continue. Mr. T returns to his lonely home and dies shortly after giving Sophia a wrapped package asking her to open it after his death.

Well Mr. T not only saved the family’s bacon by impersonating Papu but also in a much bigger way.

While there are some comedic if not farcical moments in the film it highlights the blows struck by the Greek financial crisis with taxes being increased, trimming civil service jobs and social spending and reductions in state pensions. Not giving Papu a proper Greek Orthodox funeral and instead burying him in the middle of the night with a proper religious ceremony is an act of quiet desperation. The film is fictious but an accurate chronicle of a family being caught up in a financial crisis they had no part in creating.

You can see the film here or go to the  Hellenic Film Society USA and see it on a link there

This 2015 film is free. It is in Greek with English subtitles and is directed by Marinos Kartikkis.

Published by Robert K Sephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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