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HAPPY DAY

Greece, 1976 (MIFF 1977)

Director: Pantelis Voulgaris

Greek director, Pantelis Voulgaris, who made The Engagement of Anna in 1972, was afterwards imprisoned by the military junta on the island of Makronissos. During the Civil War following the Second World War, the island was used as a prison camp, holding eighty thousand Greeks. Nearly all of them were accused of political crimes, and common criminals were engaged by the military as guards and torturers.

Happy Day unwinds a series of vignettes about life on the island. The prisoners are forced to perform demeaning tasks, such as catching flies. They are engaged in rehearsing a play for the benefit of a visiting official, to create the impression that the prisoners are being gently reformed. When the men are asked to sign an oath of loyalty to the colonels' regime, and are promised to be released if they do so, one man refuses. He is badly beaten, thrown into the sea, is presumed dead, and his family is told that he has committed suicide. But he survives, and is found during the o'/bcial's inspection tour. His presence destroys the myth of 'happy days' on the island, and the Commanding Officer explains to the prisoner that he is officially dead . . .

Director Voulgaris says, he has not aimed for an effect of documentary realism. ‘What I hoped to do, was to find a way of creating my own language, using the light and space of Greece, the roots I have here. The challenge to my generation is to rid ourselves of forces and trends outside Greece.'

See also...

IT'S A LONG ROAD

Highly respected in his homeland - alongside peers like Theo Angelopoulos - Pantelis Voulgaris' It's a Long Road is an understated but immensely rewarding film. Divided into three distinct chapters ... More »

STONE YEARS

Pantelis Voulgaris' epic is set during the "stone years" of recent Greek history (I954-1974) when membership of the Communist Party was illegal, and repressive governments punished members with ... More »

WASTED YOUTH

"Energetic and exciting... a fascinating portrait of 'wasted youth' of all ages." - Screen International ... In a modern Athens ravaged by the exploding financial crisis, teenager Haris is just happy ... More »

ALPS

“A truly original work and a masterpiece of contemporary existentialism.” - Cinema Scope ... A mysterious underground club known as Alps offers a most unusual service: to stand in for your dearly ... More »

A FOOLISH LOVE

He is a young man, about 20, who lives with his widowed mother in one of the innumerable nondescript apartments lost in the great concrete jungle which Athens has become. He wants to study astronomy ... More »

A GIRL IN BLACK

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 ... More »

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