Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Antigoni Amanitou & co in "Bordello" [1985, Greece]

Intrigued by the earlier film of Nikos Koundouros, I decided to check out one of his later films, and as expected, it sure was different..!

His 1985 drama, "Bordello" [aka "Bordelo"] is set during the last days of Ottoman Crete when the island was occupied and controlled by Great Britain, Russia, Italy, and France, ostensibly to monitor a peace treaty but with their own hidden agenda. The film starts with a group of women - "The Ladies from Marseille", landing in the port town of Chania - enterprising prostitutes hoping to take advantage of the new demand caused by the influx of the various armies. Led by Rosa Bonaparte, they settle in a mansion to start business. The film follows the politics played out at the bordello by the customers' vested interests, not least the Cretan revolutionaries who want independence from Ottoman Turkey. The women also get reluctantly sucked into the politics of a foreign land, one they wish they hadn't come to.

The film is exquisitely made, even if it doesn't reach the poetic heights of Mikres Aphrodites. The set design, lighting and shot selection is outlandish and evocative of Fellini's "Satyricon". The acting performances range from the eccentric to the utterly ridiculous, but it all somehow works in this bizarre film. The cinematography and editing is quite good, and the film held my attention throughout even if I hadn't a clue what's going on in the scenes where they speak either Greek or Russian (sadly my DVD came only with Greek subtitles). There are some silly directorial mistakes, but nothing major. The costumes and make-up is very well done, but I especially loved the fabulous eye-liners of these ladies - charming, sexy, and so Greek. Add to this the extraordinary nude scenes - women filmed from unusual angles, but artistic nevertheless. The film is a visual feast, and for that reason, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

DVD Order Link

Compilation: Eleonora Stathopoulos, Agapi Manoura, Antigone Anamitou, Monika Impels, Elena Mirtsofska, Alexandra Pavlidis, Marina Vlady, Eugenia Olympiou, and various unknowns
This is a large compilation even by usual standards, but definitely worth checking out before you decide to buy the film. I've used the names as displayed in the film credits, some of which are spelt differently in IMDB.

Eleonora Stathopoulos, Agapi Manoura, Antigone Amanitou, Monika Impels, Elena Mirtsofska, Alexandra Pavlidis, Marina Vlady and Eugenia Olympiou from Bordello

Scene Guide:
  • Sarah doesn't like the local Cretan woman in the house, and asks her naked friend to convey how she feels - the dialogues here are in English so you should be able to follow. Sarah is played by Eleonora Stathopoulos. Unfortunately I couldn't identify her rather interesting naked friend - if someone knows, please let us know through the comments.
  • A British officer takes a shine to compatriot Emma Harvey. Emma is played by Agapi Manoura. There's another lady spreading her legs in the bed next to them, whose name I couldn't figure out either.
  • Antigone is one of many crazy woman at the bordello - but she's also Greek, and could converse with the locals in their language. Sexy Antigone is played by Antigoni Amanitou (credited as Antigone Anamitou). She bites a client's finger when he rejects her proposition.
  • Awesome scene as the drunk Russian captain doffs glasses of vodka while carrying cute and naked Monica on his back. The captain tries to chat up the Polish lady Irena, but she rebuffs his overtures. Monica slips through when he puts her down to talk to a Cretan revolutionary called Vasilis, and is later found fooling around with Antigone and a sailor boy. Monica is played by Monica Innbells (credited as Monika Impels), and the Polish Irena is played by Elena Mirchovska (credited as Elena Mirtsofska).
  • Antigone and Anita topless in a crowded room as grand lady Rosa Bonaparte picks up a punter, played by veteran actress Marina Vlady - she had aged magnificently since I last saw her in a Marco Ferreri film, "L'Ape Regina". Buxom Anita is played by Alexandra Pavlidou (credited as Alexandra Pavlidis).
  • Sarah approaches the sweaty and topless Antigone and couldn't contain herself.
  • Sarah apparently is still a virgin - one can see why from their bizarre conversation in the bath. Irena has some tales to tell too as she's scrubbed by young Tania, played by Tania Tripi..!
  • Sarah fancies Vasilis, but he's not interested - and so she blames the 'witch' - the Cretan woman, played by Evgenia Olybiou (credited as Eugenia Olympiou).
  • Bizarre scene - and how Cretan..! The British officer challenges any woman to make love to the 'monster' Minotaur for One Hundred Pounds, and Sarah chooses that moment to not only make some money, but also to loose her virginity. There's a non-nude scene (actually, a murder) in between which I left in - I think it was made rather well.
  • The ladies find themselves back on the street, in pouring rain - Antigone has had enough and wants the others to follow her out of the island.


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