Greece, 1955 (MIFF 1957, Programme 1)

Director: Michael Cacoyannis

A Girl in Black is the third and most considerable film of Michael Cacoyannis, the young Greek director. It is a fresh honest film with an ambitiously simple theme, the central situation of which is developed with perception and a simple intensity.

A Girl in Black was shot entirely on location and Walter Lassally's camera brings the island scene alive and the director achieves his sense of locale not by thrusting local colour before us but by going close in to his characters and observing them with affectionate but unromantic eyes. Ellie Lambetti, a dark fragile beauty, plays Marina with austere simplicity and a latent passion - a performance which achieves much and promises more.

The film was made with a modest unit, on a small budget and without much of the technical equipment which is accepted as essential in the major film-producing countries. Yet none of these things are limitations in the film; the whole concept of "production value" is irrelevant to its style. It is because of this basic integrity of approach that Cacoannis' three films (the other two are Windfall in Athens and Stella) have an importance which goes beyond their own, often considerable, qualities.

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