Stelios Haralambopoulos’ romantic mystery-melodrama “I Ypografi” [Eng. Title: The Signature] is one of those hard-to-categorise films that’s also extremely difficult to write about without giving away the plot – the reason why this review is also going to be brief. Set in the art world, the moving love story is a murder mystery kept alive until the end.
Anna (Alexia Kaltsiki) is an art historian organising a retrospective of famous artist Maria Dimou (Maria Protopappa) who’s no longer alive, and contacts a living close friend of hers – an old and ailing graphic artist named Angelos (Georges Corraface) to gather further details on Maria’s life and work. Circumstances surrounding Maria’s death have been shrouded in mystery, and Anna would like to glean as much information as possible from the person who had known her intimately since the late sixties. By coincidence, she discovers that Angelos has kept far more works of Maria than initially thought, and does a bit of sleuthing with authorities for more information on Angelos and Maria’s relationship. It will transpire that the two were deeply in love even after they had supposedly split, and Angelos has been privy to every work that Maria had ever produced during her lifetime. It will also pose a moral dilemma for Anna in deciding to exhibit the hitherto unseen works of Maria…
Haralambopoulos shifts tone between a tragic love story and murder mystery using intermittent flashbacks that transition almost seamlessly – confusing if the viewer isn’t alert. There is also plenty of detail that’ll be overlooked if one doesn’t pay attention. The performances of all the main cast are competent despite a suspect screenplay and/or poor subtitle translation – one is required to apply imagination to capture some of its nuances. Despite these minor misgivings, it is a moving and tragic love story surrounding a mystery that will retain audience interest until the very end. Recommended Viewing..!
The Nudity: Maria Protopappa and Georges Corraface
Maria Protopappa appears nude in three scenes, and George Corraface in one. The first is of Angelos finishing the painting of a Maria sleeping in the nude – she’s very impressed and demands to see the rest of his work. The second is a sensual love-making scene between the two as they improvise with available ingredients in the kitchen, including honey. The third is of Angelos and Maria celebrating a successful show which they hope will be their last – Angelos paints on Maria’s face, and they get intimate for a while.