Mediterraneo Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 18, 2009
The outline of this film appears in other postings, so I will just add my two drachma by way of critical appraisal. In case you are in any doubt, Mediterraneo ranks in my best three ever - a magnificent film. If you never see it, part of your life will have been unlived.

Mediterraneo epitomises the difference between Hollywood and the demands of a largely US audience and the subtler approach of the European director/writer who seeks simply to express him/herself through the medium. I read two reviews in the Washington Post both of which managed to misunderstand the film completely, one going so far as to characterise the cast as "Marx Brothers". In fact, they are probably the finest ensemble of characters I have ever seen in film - a completely disparate group of individuals who nearly all manage to find spiritual (and sexual) fulfulment in the sensuality of Aegean island life.

The film is multi-layered and, the more obvious ones, such as the powerful anti-war message and the venality of post-Fascist Italy are often mentioned. But no-one has ever picked up on the phrase "una face, una race" which is repeated throughout the film. This is the nostrum that Italians and Greeks have a common Mediterranean heritage (come on Washington Post hacks - didn't the title give you a clue?) and that there is an enormous irony in the Italians - who rightly pride themselves on the antiquity of their civilisation - seeking to subdue another culture whose origins are 2000 years older.

This is underlined by the easy participation of the soldiers in both high and low Greek culture, .....the painting of the frescoes in the church (n.b. the Orthodox Church predating the Holy Roman Empire by centuries - clever eh!) and the wonderful unifying theme of football, which only a European or South American viewer could truly appreciate.

The group's ambivalent attitude to sexual mores adds to the sense of the place as essentially a home for Greco-Roman sensuality - a fact which is gloriously exposed with the later juxtaposition of our band of heroes with the starched British Royal Navy officers who arrive to remove them from the island.

I have not seen any mention in other reviews of the beautiful cadence of the Italian dialogue - as lilting as the bazouki music which accompanies much of the film.

The sense of disillusionment that takes over the film at the end is very powerful and it is no accident that Salvatore shows us the Lieutenant returning to the island on a ferry full of burnt-pink tourists.

This is a film that can only truly be appreciated if you have a feeling for, and understanding, of European culture. This is a film for grown-ups.

Mediterraneo demonstrates that though box-office grosses for European films are small (unless it is something produced explicity for a US audience, like the truly dreadful Four Weddings) our directors have managed to stay true to their craft.
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2007
An indisputable representative of the "commedia all'italiana" great story and characters, the lack of "depth" is counteracted with great sense of humor. guaranteed entertainment.
Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2012
A fabulous tale of the calm in the middle of the storm. An Italian unit in the midst of the Second World War is stationed in a land in Greece that the war forgot. They end up discovering their humanity.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2009
Not much to see as the story progresses,for a Greek individual,it's closer to reality and customs.The platoon's members are celebrating,a sensual echo is lying around the Aegean and of course,music which transforms their boring patrol into a new adventure...OK,it sounds sappy,but not in a horrible way.
March 8, 2015
This light-hearted utopia is a perfect masterpiece.
June 15, 2013
Salvatore's Academy Award winner is a comedy about eight isolated Italian World War Two soldiers assigned to defend a small Greek island. There, they just relax and enjoy the surroundings. Uneventful and sometimes dull, the settings are still great and some moments are amusing. Performances are good.
February 2, 2013
This movie captivated me over twenty years ago. I thought it was a delightful Italian romp that spoke to me in an intimate way, It was the Italian humor, the scenery, the Aegean, the nostalgia (I was there, in Greece, once) but also a sense of magic, yes, that is what we all want: to be transported to paradise! I saw it again recently and felt the same. Yes, it lacks depth, it is a little frothy, but there are few movies that convey this feeling.
½ December 29, 2012
It is a very simple movie. When you see a movie, you expect a point where the drama and conflict has to step in, but I felt it never happened in this one. It has a very subtle way of absorbing you into that blissful island, a place of escape and you find some sort of calmness and peace. The beautiful art direction, the soundtrack leave a lasting impression to the point that you will keep on listening to it just to preserve for a little bit more the feelings that it creates, that mini-escape from our reality.
½ October 6, 2012
The music. The scenery. The characters. Cheesy in a few scenes but all in all unmissable. WATCH THIS!
February 24, 2012
Great movie, must see.
½ January 22, 2012
Highly recommended mature comedy set during WWII.
August 26, 2011
Ce l'avevo in lista da tempo...che spettacolo, un classico veramente attuale, "dedicato a quelli che scappano".
½ May 19, 2011
it's delight to watch this movie :))
½ July 5, 2010
WWII: Hitler v The World, Nazi's try to take over the world eventually other nations decide to fight back as well to try and destory Hitler's evil racist ideas.
Everyone's seen Saving Private Ryan. One of the greatest WWII films of all time, and yet a big part of this war is left out. The Italians. They were one of the reasons that the UN failed and they also caused one of the two crisis before the beginning of the war.
And yet a hadn't seen a WWII film with the Italians in, until Mediterraneo and even though it's mainly based on love and very light humour throughout it still held strong views about what happened to the Italians as the war progressed.

As always Italian films try to get the lighter side of anything that is harsh or wrong, and Mediterraneo is no different. With the beautiful Greek landscapes mixed in with superb photography and camera work it certainly shows a certain lighter side to the war and destruction happening around the world.
The humour throughout is extremely Itailian and easy for everyone to understand, and long running jokes also kept me involed in the film for the entire running time.

But since this is a film about war there had to be some despair, and as the film comes to the end the characters state there views on what they will do as the English come to rescue them. And eventually the survivors realise that it was best to stay on the island and not gone back to italy for there was nothing good or decent to do back there. It was no different to Mussolini's reign of facist terror.
October 25, 2009
A beautiful movie and a good lighthearted comedy that also touches on some big themes, this is a movie that everyone should enjoy watching, even if it is a little bit silly at times.
March 17, 2008
:fresh: [i][color=red][b]Mediterraneo [/b]is a film that without trying to be serious, has the achievement to portray the way the italian soldiers lived the WWII and how they didn't know what was the mission they had to do. The greek island where the film was made is beautiful and definitely was the perfect shelter to these men to not losing the reason. I'm not an avid fan of italian movies but this is an entertaining film that I guess is a fair Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Film.[/color][/i]
March 17, 2008
It's a good Italian comedy, with some tiring and boring scenes, but most of it is well-made.
½ December 4, 2005
The movie takes place during WW2. It is about a group of outcast Italian soliders who are given an assignment to guard an island in greece. They get to the island and it is completely desserted, a few weeks on the island they find out that the people on the isalnd were hideing from them. The islanders and the soliders are watching each other closely to make sure they are friendly, after a while they start to become good friends. The movie has some really funny characters and good acting, this movie is for people who don't mind subtitles for a good laugh. This movie reminds me of Jarhead which is also about a group of soliders waiting for action that never comes, but this one is more entertaining.
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