Silicon Tears (To Klama Vgike Apo Ton Paradeiso/Klama) (2001)
Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Egypt (0:35)
Theatrical Trailer-1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 (0:42)
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||Greek Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, wonder what face cream sponsored the film?|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, during start of credits|
Okay, straight out I want to apologise to all our Greek readers out there for the hash I am about to make with the plot synopsis for the film, and no doubt the spelling errors I will make with the actors' names, although to be fair, it would seem that Roadshow themselves have made a hash or two on the slick as well in this regard. Character names are taken from the subtitles on the DVD and may not accord with those presented in the cast listing on the Internet Movie Database.
There is also the minor issue regarding the film itself, in that it does lose something in the "translation" from its Greek setting to the worldwide screen. It would seem that the film is very much a satire of Greek cinema of the 1960's and 1970's, so if you are unfamiliar with that genre, like me, then this could well be seen as a confusing mess. If you want a general impression, this comes across as a lousy episode from a lousy 1970's soap opera - so since that would seem to be what is entirely intended, the film does the job rather well.
There is not a snowball's chance in hell that I am ever going to be able to provide a true plot synopsis here, for ostensibly there is not really a plot per se. What this is is Greek melodrama of the highest order, with enough unnecessary song and dance tossed in to make Bollywood films look slightly pale in comparison. Normally, when confronted with a foreign film that I have trouble providing a synopsis for, I resort to finding online descriptions and trying to paraphrase those. In this instance, I cannot find stuff other than in Greek which I sure cannot speak and definitely cannot read. So, here goes nothing...
Martha (Maria Kavoyianni) is in love with and is to marry Yiakoumis (Michalis Reppas). She is the daughter of Lavrendia Bisbiki (Anna Panayiotopoulou), a poor cleaner who was once a hero in the Greek underground. He is a lowly builder. At a party at a local inn, Martha loses her beloved to the feminine wiles of the wealthy Jella De La Franca (Mirka Papakonstantinou) and is inconsolable. Subsequently, whilst out on a liaison with Jella, Yiakoumis meets Jella's daughter Jenny (Joys Evidi), who is supposedly engaged to Denis (Hristos Simardanis), and promptly dumps Jella in order to marry Jenny, despite the opposition of her mother and grandfather. In the meantime, Martha's brother Aristos is apparently drowned in the sinking of a ship owned by Jella's father (Trifon Karatzas). Unhappy with the rapid finding of the inquiry into the sinking, Lavrendia engages unbiased solicitor Stefanos Barras (Tasos Halkias) to seek out the truth. Knowing that the De La Franca's have used their money to hide the truth and push the inquiry through, Stefanos goes off to confront the family and promptly falls for the feminine wiles of Jella. Then, out of the blue, Aristos is alive (albeit blind) and returns home and is able to tell the truth about what happened. Jella tries to buy the family's silence but is thwarted by the vengeance-seeking Martha who blames Jella for losing Yiakoumis. "Where does this all end?", you might say. Well, like any fine melodrama, and 1970's soap opera, you can bet there are more twists, turns and surprises than you can poke any number of souvlakis at.
My father watched this briefly whilst I was reviewing the DVD and he passed the comment that the acting was atrocious. What my father did not realise is that the lousy acting was precisely the whole point of the presentation of the film - he does not understand satire in film I am afraid. But since it stands out like a sore thumb, then quite clearly the intent of the performances has been well and truly captured by the rather large cast. With characters appearing and disappearing faster than a roadrunner on speed, it does take a degree of concentration to keep up with everything barring that one thing - the brilliant acting to do such a great job of satirising those old Greek films (well, at least I am presuming that they have done a good job - this is the first Greek film that I have ever seen to my knowledge).
I cannot with all honesty say that I truly understood the film in a detailed sense, but in a broad sense it is a rather good satire on the subject matter. Whilst aimed at Greek cinema of the 1960's and 1970's (right down to some appalling clothing, atrocious hairdos and shocking decor in the houses), it does not take much to see elements of many countries' cinema here. I certainly cannot say that this is a film that I will return to again, and is certainly not the right place to start an investigation of Greek cinema in general I would suspect. However, it is a well thought out satire (or indeed near-spoof) that is a credit to the team that put it together.
I would suspect that Greek viewers will find this a bigger hoot than most of us, and that is to be expected. If you have any knowledge of Greek film of the 1960's and 1970's, then this is probably right up your laneway.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Whilst I cannot find any conclusive evidence as to what the theatrical aspect ratio was, I would suspect that 1.85:1 would be the answer - notwithstanding the fact that the closing credits appear cramped up.
The transfer is quite decent albeit somewhat variable and not up to the general standard that we expect from Roadshow Home Entertainment. I am guessing that all that is slightly awry here is the result of source material limitations. There is a distinct difference between the footage shot outside on location and that shot inside (and presumably on set). The outside stuff is quite sharp, rather well detailed and up there with the best we find from anywhere else in the world. The indoor stuff is generally rather soft, reasonably well detailed but with an overall look that is a little drab. Shadow detail is adequate, given that there are few shots where it comes into play. However, something better would not have gone astray. There is thankfully nothing significant in the way of grain in the image, so clarity is generally pretty good throughout. There are certainly sections where light grain can be seen but these are not too disruptive to the transfer. You should note that the film opens with some archival material that is pretty ghastly looking.
There is a riot of colour here at times and therefore it is important that they are well handled. I have to say I was a little disappointed but this may well be the result of inherent problems in the source material. Certainly interior shots have a tendency to be washed out, mainly due to excessive light through windows, whilst some of the exteriors feature rich, vibrant colours. The opening credits are presented over solid coloured boxes and the edges between the colours are not at all solid and exhibit plenty of colour bleed. Otherwise, there is no problem with colour bleed nor oversaturation - barring perhaps the one sequence in the inn where Jella's red dress is very close to going over the edge. On the whole though, I would have loved some more tonal depth and vibrancy than what we actually have here.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although there did appear to be some pixelisation in the Morse code clicker around 64:54. There did not appear to be any significant film-to-video artefacts in the transfer, although minor aliasing is noted and there was a bit of moiré artefacting in the tie at 26:15. There were a fair dollop of film artefacts to be seen in the image, mainly dirt marks, that I was a little surprised at given that the film is of quite recent vintage.
This is a single sided, single layered DVD, so there is no layer change to worry about.
I find it difficult to believe that given the large Greek community in Australia and given that we are in the twenty-first century, Roadshow have provided just a single non-selectable English subtitle option on the DVD. Yes folks, all you Greek-speakers out there will have to suffer the English subtitles whether you like it or not. Of course, I don't know how accurate the subtitles are but there certainly seemed to be a lot more dialogue going on than we seemed to have subtitles for.
There is rightly just the one soundtrack on the DVD and it is of course Greek. It is an unusual Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack at 320 Kb/s, not a format that we see too often. It is nice to see that an English dub was not provided for the film, although no doubt some will object to this lack of choice.
From where I sit there was nothing wrong with the soundtrack and the dialogue was easy to understand (well, you know what I mean). There did not appear to be any audio sync issues with the transfer.
The original music score was composed by Afroditi Manou, who also provided the songs. Very Greek sounding (gee, what a surprise that is), I thought it was a good effort that did provide the film with nice support where required.
There really is nothing wrong with the soundtrack at all. Obviously we are talking about a very dialogue driven film, so there was no need for anything more than we got here. What was surprising was how effective the surround channels were in providing ambience (mostly music it has to be said). All things considered, very nicely done.
|Surround Channel Use|
There certainly is not much in this package, but then again I was not expecting anything at all.
Echoing the opening credits of the film, there is nothing really much to say about them. The selection highlighter does suffer some rather noticeable dot crawl.
Nicely chosen in some ways.
The presentation is in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 that is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. With a muted, rather drab look to it, it is not a really pretty sight. The English subtitles are unfortunately non-selectable. It is rather interesting that the name of the film according to the subtitles is Crying Came From Paradise. Quite where we get Silicon Tears from, I don't really know.
Listed for completeness as it plays before the feature. We pay top dollar to buy the DVD and we have to put up with this s***?
As far as I can ascertain, this film has not been released on DVD anywhere else at this time. Obviously, I cannot vouch for that as one would have thought that a Region 2 (Greek) release would exist, but as I said before - my Greek is non-existent so I might have not picked up any reference to it even if I managed to inadvertently find it.
To Klama Vgike Apo Ton Paradeiso is a film that perhaps loses a bit too much in the translation from its Greek home. As such, Greek readers will probably love this and rejoice that it is available locally. The audio transfer is very good but the video transfer leaves something to be desired - although mostly I suspect as a result of artistic choices. Interesting stuff that I am glad that I have seen but I honestly cannot say this is a non-Hollywood film that I would return to again.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|