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A MATTER OF DIGNITY

Greece, 1958 (MIFF 1959, Programme 9)

Director: Michael Cacoyannis

A Matter of Dignity tells of a bourgeois family on the verge of bankruptcy, pinning all their hopes on their daughter's catching a rich husband.

The Pellas mansion is gripped in an atmosphere of falsehood and hysteria, set by Cleon's wife. Roxane. whose efforts to keep up a facade of social activity plunge the household deeper and deeper into debt. When the bank serves final notice, the catastrophe seems unavoidable. Pathetically, Roxane begins to play on her daughter's emotions. The tragedy lies in the character of this girl — played beautifully by Ellie Lambetti (of Girl in Black fame) -: who, endowed with a little more perception and intelligence and sensitivity than the rest of her superficial world, is still ready to sacrifice herself and everyone else to the sham of it all. Some shrewd observation of bourgeois pretensions, and a climactic scene, remarkably photographed by Walter Lassally, provide one of the most visually exciting sequences in cinema to date.

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