June 30th: Somewhere beyond the sea.


135. Mediterraneo (Gabriele Salvatores, 1991)

A group of inept misfit Italian soldiers are stationed on a remote Aegean island during World War II. At first they find no evidence of anyone living on the island until one day the townsfolk suddenly reappear. The soldiers begin to blend into the island life, cut off and forgotten by the raging war overseas they become part of the island community and begin to settle. For three years the men become subsumed by the life of the islanders, it begins to affect them all in different ways, they mellow and partake in the joys of the simpler life and some even become romantically involved. Mediterraneo is a deeply nostalgic film, besotted with an idealised, simple and satisfying way of life. It is a credit to everyone involved that it is so beguiling; it plays out gently, slowly soothing away tension and awkwardness to a greatly calming effect. When interlopers threaten the island paradise the results are often comedic and harmless. The passage of time seems be purposefully absent, the impression is that this place has no time and that it will continue to be as it is regardless of the outside world.

Mediterraneo won the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, and it’s understandable why. The powerful sense of nostalgia is dreamlike and enchanting, a nebulous emotion that is all too rarely captured in the cinema.

Cheers to Christian for the copy.

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