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DAYS OF 36 (MERES TOU ’36) (director/writer: Theo Angelopoulos; screenwriters: Stratis Karras/Petros Markaris/Thanassis Valtinos; cinematographers: Giorgos Arvanitis/Vassilis Christomoglou; editor: Vasilis Syropoulos; cast: Thanos Grammenos (Brother of Convict), Kostas Pavlou (Sofianos, police informer), George Kyritsis (Deputy), Giorgos Kyritsis (Kontaxis), Christoforos Nezer (Prison Director), Giannis Kandilas (MP Hostage), T. Doukakos (Chief of Police); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Giorgos Papalios; New Star-PAL format; 1972-Greece-in Greek with English subtitles)
Visually attractive political thriller, made during the Metaxas reign.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Theo Angelopoulos (“The Weeping Meadow”/”Eternity and a Day”/”Landscape of the Mist”) directs this visually attractive political thriller, made during the Metaxas reign, a right-wing monarchist supporter general who served from 1936-41 as prime minister of Greece. It’s based on the actual event of a trade unionist assassinated at a public rally in 1936 and a former police informer and drug pusher Sofianos (Kostas Pavlou), who claims to be innocent but is arrested for the murder and held in a room for three months without a cellmate. When visited in the jail by a conservative M.P., Kriezis (Giannis Kandilas), his former lover, he pulls a gun on him and creates a government crisis when holding him hostage and threatening to kill him if not released. The General, the head of the Metaxas government that was formed to give the country stability by an alliance between the right-wing, monarchists, and centrists, is told his regime will lose the support of democrats if they free him and that the conservatives will withhold their support if he is not released.

The government’s slow response is to eliminate the informer, but fails in its first effort to poison the informer’s coffee. It then hires a sniper to shoot him in his locked room.

The filmmaker pokes fun at the heavy-handedness, secrecy, incompetence and indecisiveness of the right-wing regime, as the slow moving film ably builds on the tension. It re-enacts events in a clinical documentary manner to reveal the psychological mood and political implications of the times.The atmospheric film is good at capturing the political uncertainty of the times, as a military dictatorship by the Colonels and a civil rebellion awaits just around the corner.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”