Kleopatra Rota & Eleni Prokopiou in “Mikres Afrodites” [1963 Greece]

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Nikos Koundouros’ film “Mikres Afrodites” [Eng. Title: Young Aphrodites] is a magnificent example of cinema with magical realism. Since I knew nothing about this fine director, watching the film drew frequent comparisons to eastern masters of cinema like Akira Kurosawa and Satyajit Ray, but more closely Pier Paolo Pasolini. I’m lost for words to describe the film’s beauty, but boy am I glad to have bumped into this gem!

Inspired by an ancient play by Longus (Daphnis and Chloe), which is based on an even ancient Theocritan myth – Daphnis and Aphrodite, the screenplay is creatively interpreted and directed to make this a truly timeless classic. It is not a strict interpretation of the play itself though – the film is much darker, and examines not only coming-of-age, but also male-female dynamics in a very modern way. Koundouros narrates two parallel stories within the film whose characters interact during its course, each drawing on the other’s experiences – while one story is about adolescent love, the other is about adult desires. It is a very visual film, sensual and tastefully done, and the mesmerising soundtrack and Mediterranean locale transport us to a different world altogether – one which we’ll wish to stay for a while longer even after the film finishes.


Storyline:
Set around 200 BC, a group of nomadic shepherds arrive at a fishing village in search of water and new pastures. Men in the village are out at sea, and the place inhabited only by women at the time. Young Skymnos is intrigued by local girl Chloe – about his own age, and shepherd Tsakalos is fascinated with an already married Arta. The film captures their mating rituals through sheer visual poetry that transcend cultures – it is ‘human’.

I was able to locate a DVD vendor in Greece, and even if this has not been digitally remastered, it is definitely well worth it. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

I’ve made two compilations, improving on the DVD quality, but these pale in comparison to experiencing the full film – in fact I even feel I may have vandalised a work of art by chopping off bits and pieces. Buy the DVD if you can – this is one film you’d love to watch again and again, and well worth the investment.



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