“Little England” is perhaps what you might call a “modern” Greek tragedy shot on the island of Andros in the Aegean in Greece. All said and done I reflect on the opening scene with huge Aegean waves crashing into the shores of the island of Andros. In retrospection director Pantelis Voulgaris is giving viewers a warning of what is to come.
Set in the early 1930’s, at least to start, a lowly sailor Spyros Maltabes (Andreas Konstantinou) is in love with Orsa Saltaferou (Sofia Kokkali) but her mother Mina (Aneza Papadopoulou) wants nothing to do with a lowly second mate Spyros. He is too poor, has no house and is not even a captain. Love in 1930’s in Andros had little to do with marriages which were arranged. A cruel affront to love.
Instead Orsa is matched up with Nikos (Maximos Moumouris) a successful captain. And the marriage ensues.
The men of Andros are sailors and seldom seen leaving behind fractured families unable to function like a normal family. Children afraid of their rarely seen fathers. Ah, the cruelty of the sea.
Orsa bears two children to Nikos and they seem to have a decent relationship but not a loving one. Then Moscha, unaware of Spyros’ love for her sister Orsa marries Spyros. And she bears him children and Orsa must hear their lovemaking upstairs and an ebullient woman starts a silent decline. She internalizes her grief becoming more silent and morose. Spyros had become a successful captain and part owner of a ship he sailed as a reward for saving a precious cargo from a typhoon.
Spyros is so successful he buys a ship “Little England” as the Second World War breaks out. His ship is sunk by a torpedo but he saves his men while going down with the ship. News of this comes to Andros and to the surprise of everyone Orsa calls out “Spyros My Love!” and it’s a decline after that for Orsa and watch out for the rusted spoon.
For an 8-year-old film it stands tall and proud and is a winner of six Hellenic Film Academy Awards including best picture (2014).
Pay attention to director Pantelis Voulgaris’s opening scene of the nasty waves that sets the tone of the cruelty of the sea and the wreckage it causes to the Andros islanders.
This 213-minute 2013 film is brought to you by the Hellenic Film Society USA and is in Greek with English subtitles. Gorgeous cinematography and solid acting throughout. This film is a winner.
You can buy tickets at https://hellenicfilmusa.org/ .
The trailer can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QQFuyJYjWU&t=3s
It can be seen until May 1st.