ECHOES OF THE PAST FILM REVIEW

The Greek experience of World War 2 has not been the primary vision from Hollywood. I can only think of two films that remotely treated the Greek war experience, CAPTAIN CORELLIS MANDELIN and ZORBA THE GREEK. The first was a mis fire, romantic drama that over boiled its promise. The second dealt with it very passingly. ECHOES OF THE PAST has decided to attempt to right that wrong. Yes, it does not originate from Hollywood but it is targeting an American (and broadly English language) audience.

Within Nicholas Dimitropoulos ECHOES OF THE PAST, we navigate the horrors of the occupation and its bitter aftermath. Taken from a survivor (Max Von Sydow in his final role) point of view, it begins in the small Greek village of Kalavryta. Nazi troops have taken control of The village and are setting out to enact their brutal will. This leads to eye witness accounts of a atrocity that still haunts after its close in 1943.

So broadly speaking the last of those who encountered and experienced the 2nd World War, are in their final years. Dimitropoulos film takes on this burden of witness. The burden of remembrance for those gone. But it does so with a rather tepid examination. The events of this act of murder have not been explored in cinema recently, which means they are fresh to the audiences eyes. However the feeling that is over whelming here is a concern with focus. What do we tell and why do we tell it?

Its not to say he or his cast, do not excel at the passion and pain of the event. It is more to say that this and other stories have been told, with more intellect and immediacy. They have also relied less on specification and more on the enveloping of the events in a regional frame. It feels often like it wants to reach a global audience by route of a shared, albeit genocidal act. The real power should have come from the reality of the act and why it left such deep scars. Instead it is as if the sign off is, let them be remembered for they suffered like others did.

 

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