Zorba the Greek Reviews
Reviewing "Zorba" is always a pleasurable invitation. Personally, it is a film that brings back several memories of the most diverse phases of my life. The most admirable thing about the film is its simplicity inherited from neo-realism, something almost impossible to see in today's cinema, and probably by the characteristics of our individualistic generation.
The paradox in "Zorba" is in its simplicity traits that gain a splendid dimension. Everything is so well done that even slips end up being irrelevant, though they exist. The film's occasional mistakes may be characterized by the adaptive relationship of Nikos Kazantzakis's novel with the script and direction signed by Michael Cacoyannis.
By fragmenting a moment of life between the meeting of the young Basil (Alan Bates) with Zorba (Anthony Quinn) through the relations of work, companionship and ending with the farewell of these friends, we have in this fragment of moments, insertions in style of chronicles of the Life that do not always punctuate or construct relations, besides, by centralizing the film in relaunching between these two friends, we lose, and in total merit by the artistic and interpretative quality, very interesting figures like the brilliant Madame Hortense (Lila Kedrova), the Widow Irene Papas) and the crazy / silly city (Sotiris Moustakas). In addition to all these characters, add the inhabitants of the village of Crete (where most of the history goes), which oscillate between a great chorus of representation of the local inhabitants and at other moments, this mass of the population obtains the prowess of being the Protagonists of "Zorba", influencing in the plots and determining situations.
Perhaps the weakest point of the script, in the non-relationship in particular, with the women's history of the film, the widow and Madame, both seem to be a resource to symbolize, a specific love relationship in the life of the two friends, but Are only one in front of the others that have already come and the others that will still come, by the way, the film provides few clues about the past and even fewer about the future of the characters Zorba and Basil, which is not a bad thing, if there is something That neo-realism clearly points out, is the coming and going of stories that cross us.
A special highlight for the photography of Walter Lassally and the art direction of Vassilis Photopoulos, both deservedly awarded the Oscars in their respective categories and which are striking to this day, a true composition class and artistic feature, the reflection of this is remarkable also Quality of the movie.
One aside that is necessary here, is for the quality in the work of all the actors, indisputably excellent, with special attention to the female performance and in great prominence, Anthony Quinn, an undoubtedly enviable actor. When we know a little about the story of this Mexican actor, who was boxing fighter ... finally, when we know a little more about his life and career, our chin falls and we are even more admired for his work. Quinn, performed in "Zorba" a rare feat for many other actors, composing a timeless character, which until today is referenced and revered. Without doubt, a brilliant work by an equally brilliant actor.
An Englishman, Basil (played by Alan Bates), is en route to Crete where
he owns a long-disused mine. Along the way he encounters, befriends and
employs Zorba (Anthony Quinn). Once in Crete they set about trying to
get the mine operational. Basil is quite risk averse, studious and
introverted while Zorba is extroverted, gregarious, happy-go-lucky and
lives life to the fullest. Over time, Zorba's zestfulness starts to rub
off on Basil...
Starts slowly but over time the movie starts to accumulate a feel- good
factor, especially when we see Zorba's antics and Basil start to open
However, this is all ruined by two acts of sheer barbarism towards the
end, both committed by the moronic inhabitants of the village. What's
worse, both these acts are just taken as par for the course, and there
is no ultimate justice for these acts. You could understand the
imbecilic villagers feeling that way, but both Basil and Zorba continue
as if nothing had happened. What's more, the first case involves
someone quite dear to Basil.
From the point of the first atrocity, the air goes out of the movie and
this is made worse by the second act. There are some lighter moments in
the last few scenes but these can't repair the damage. What should have
been a light, happy movie, even a comedy of sorts, ends as an uneven
study in the barbaric customs and thinking of primitive people.
You couldn't have to polar opposites on screen but the charm & chemistry of the two is undeniable. Zorba is owned by the performance of Anthony Quinn that is truly once in a lifetime.
It's a film filled with passion (especially the luscious look of the film made by the Cameraman) & the perils of life. It's refreshing & a great study of two people in the unforgettable backdrop of coastal Greece. A must see classic!
It's hard to watch the old customs that condemn a widow, because she can´t love freely.