, 87min, grOmeU
The constant and often bloody political turmoil in Greece following the Second World War – the civil war between communist rebels and the anti-communist government, the widespread suppression of political left, and finally the seven long years of the military junta – prevented the country from creating a larger cinematic legacy based on Greek suffering and resistance under Italian, German, and Bulgarian fascists. Made in a brief window of political detente, OURANOS comes closest to a traditional partisan film, similar to other works of this retrospective. What stands out is the fact that the film’s collective protagonist – an armed unit of Greek soldiers on the offensive against the Italians in the fall of 1940 – belongs to the official Greek army, and not to a grassroots rebellion. This is only a formality, however: like partisans, these soldiers move through secret passages in the marshes and mountains. Like partisans, they are outmanned, outgunned, exhausted, hungry, and without central leadership. Just like partisans, they rely heavily on the kindness of the civilian population. Finally, after the Germans arrive and conquer the country, they formally disband, knowing that becoming a partisan is the only alternative to returning home. OURANOS, the debut feature by Tákīs Kanellópoulos, a filmmaker at once vastly respected at home and still virtually unknown outside Greece, is above all a film of stark, almost otherworldly beauty. It is a film in which thoughts become one with words, where landscape becomes one with those defending it, and where the vast, glorious sky mourns the fallen and gives hope to those still standing.