BEWARE OF GREEKS BEARING GUNS
In Crete, a vendetta is spawned in 1943 by Yiayia Maria (1943 -71 Noni Ioannidou, older Tasso Kavvadia), when she swears to track down the man she believes killed her husband. Her grandson Manos (Lakis Lazopoulos) is the instrument of revenge 57 years later, when Vassili (Alexi Anthopoulos) is found to be in Melbourne. But while Manos is there, he rekindles an old friendship, falls in love, becomes a father and learns the truth about himself and the man he is sent to kill.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A likeable, engaging, well crafted film, Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns has an old fashioned feel about it, partly due to its European sensibilities and partly to the age old story revolving around family secrets about love and heartbreak, mysterious affairs and ancient social customs. At the same time it rings with the clear ping of authenticity in every department; the characters are well defined and the performances are excellent, especially the leads; Zoe Carides as the single mother with a 16 year old daughter curious about her father; Lakis Lazopoulos as Manos, the man who could have been that father (and his twin brother, the volatile Yorgos); and Claudia Buttazzoni as Katrina, the 16 year old modern and determined young woman with a big heart. Carides exudes a mature self confidence born of having had to get through life pretty much on her own. Behind this shell we sense the vulnerable woman whose romantic youth was shattered by her pregnancy and the social exile into which that sent her. The script, well structured and often very amusing, never judges her, nor the customs that continue to make so many so miserable. The old Greek men living in suburban Melbourne are fondly caricatured, while the old Greeks in the old village take us into that other world of ageing Europe where nothing much has changed, except for the arrival of mobile phones.
Review by Louise Keller:
A more unlikely hit man you'll be hard pressed to meet in Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns, a delightful story of mistaken identity, cultural cringe and belonging. There's enough Greek flavour here to make you yearn for a nip of Ouzo, and the characters that we encounter are both engaging and wonderfully entertaining. From the cobbled streets of Crete, where nothing ever changes to suburban Melbourne where the Greek culture is alive and well, we venture on a journey that is rich with emotion and wildly funny. It's a superb cast with Lakis Lazopoulos endearing in the dual roles of gun-shy Manos and gung-ho Yorgos. Zoe Carides plays Nicki with insight and compassion, while Claudia Buttazzoni 's teenage daughter is a breath of fresh air. The ‘grumpy Greek men’ steal every scene as they huddle together, plot and plan, blow cigar smoke ad nauseum and make good use of their hip flasks. Just as Looking for Alibrandi explores the relationship between generations and search for identity, so too does Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns: each of the three generations stand on a different step of the stairway of life. There are some classic lines: 'A life without revenge is like a night without a moon' is one of my favourite, and the humour is gentle, never mocking. The richness of the characters is the film's greatest strength, coupled with its integrity and warmth. There's nothing to beware here – this is a charmer that delights on all fronts.
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BEWARE OF GREEKS BEARING GUNS (M)
CAST: Lakis Lazopoulos, Zoe Carides, John Bluthal, Tasso Kavadia, Nonni Ioannidou, Tassos Palatzidis, Ron Haddrick, Claudia Buttazzoni
PRODUCER: Lakis Lazopoulos
DIRECTOR: John Tatoulis
SCRIPT: Tom Galbraith, Lakis Lazopoulos
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Zakharov
EDITOR: Michael Collins
MUSIC: Henning Schmiedt, Mikis Theodorakis
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Spiros Antoniadis
RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Palace
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 12, 2002
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: February 12, 2003