Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Do you personally know any Greek person called Papadopoulos?

Only one person in my close environment is actually called Papadopoulos and I grew up and lived in Greece for the longest part of my life. Still, everyone insists that Papadopoulos is the most common Greek surname and wikipedia confirms it. Now, a film that started small but gets bigger and bigger came forward to cement the belief, placing its main characters' surname right there on the top of the film poster.

And, no, I don't have a problem with that, my only comment is that of identifying it as yet another cliche. Having said that, out of a bunch of cliches there is always the possibility to see emerge something actually good. But what's good about a film describing the story of a successful entrepreneur with Greek origins being financially downgraded due to the stock market crisis? Mr Papadopoulos, the main character played by Stephen Dillane is rich but not alive, and the journey to his roots (meaning: family, national origin, humble beginning) allows him to discover that there is life out of the "rich and successful" scheme. It may sound banale, but it ends up being liberating.

Papadopoulos and Sons owns a brand that does well in the supermarket shelves in the UK; what's their product? Feta, haloumi cheese and other Greek delicacies. Until they lose everything and have to go back to their dad's first job: frying the national English junk food, fish and chips. What a semantic inversion -I can't help commenting on it: an expat who's rather an immigrant (cause these things differentiate in a way, check it out) proudly trades with his homeland's goodies when he belongs to the upper class. If he owns the factory, then it's comme-il-faut for everyone to tell him how they love the tasty native treasures he produces. But, how did he start out, how did he conquer the foreign topos? Not by selling his stuff or being himself; his identity was not so relevant, was shyly concealed in his first venture into business: he was selling the popular dish the nation he wanted to conquer liked to savour; fish and chips was what it took to conquer the UK market, pretending to be just like them. Until he could be proud, and not ashamed of being different.

Well, well, these won't probably be your reasons to watch this film. Georges Corraface probably will be it -he's truly divine, truly Greek in his loud, easy-going character of the bohemian Papadopoulos borther.Greek tunes all along carry out their deed, even if they don't quite match the context all the time. An overall entertaining film, and a brave one -partly due to its ending line "money doesn't buy happiness". More so, because it chooses to follow the hard path (sic) of self-distribution. Through the GATHR IT platform the film hit the UK and now is hitting the States. In the meantime it garnered prizes in festivals and traveled to Germany, Greece and other countries where Greek communities are seeking out for "local heroes" to identify with. Well done, Mr Markou!

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