Chariton's Choir (2005)
2h 15min · Comedy, Music · 10 November 2005
Chariton Ulianov has one great love: Life! That particular love affair however does not hamper him in his pursuit of enjoyment of her simpler pleasures. For him every woman is beautiful, every wine is superior when shared with good company and every situation an opportunity for good humor. His position as School Master in a small provincial town on the island of Corfu gives him the opportunity to disseminate his own unique philosophy especially to the students that participate in his greatest passion: the choir. His tender and playful outlook on life is an inspiration to his students who find themselves facing all the challenges of adolescence in a Greece which is facing the challenges of life under dictatorship. His best student in and out of the classroom is Gregory Ipsilantis, a talented youth who is just discovering love and all of the accompanying "sweet mysteries of life". He is the great hope of the school choir the first voice, a talent inherited from his grandfather Gregory Ipsilantis Sr., Pappou, who is the secret mentor and staunchest supporter of the school choir in its quest for victory in the 50th annual Chorale Olympiad. The Choir Olympiad is a passionate contest to say the least. Taking precedence over every other aspect of the town's everyday life: politics, family even religion takes a back seat to this most revered of contests. In general this contest becomes a much-needed catalyst for local residents to break free from social constraints and take the piss out of each other in good-humored competition. There are no holds barred the Olympiad being a great social equalizer especially in a time of social and political tribulation. Helen of Troy, a.k.a. Helen Valavani is the school's nymph of Mathematics. Coveted by all for her beauty but approached by few due to her austere demeanor she finds herself drawn to Hariton's zest for life. He loves her, genuinely, but his love of life prohibits him from loving only her: a fact with which Helen is unable to reconcile herself. Major Dimitriou, the town's new National Guard Commandant is a man caught in his own inner conflict. On the one hand his great desire is to be a bon viveur hence his envy of Hariton: from his ease with women to his ease on the billiard table. On the other hand his ambition drives him to become a perfect organ of the junta causing him to stifle his own desires on most occasions acting as an inhuman automaton. His arrival in town sets off a chain of dramatic but often amusing conflicts. A serio-comic combination of characters played against a backdrop of local intrigues and aspirations is woven into a tender tale that reminds one of films such as "Il Postino". This is a character driven social-drama that doesn't take itself too seriously and that can stir up feelings of nostalgic reminiscence in people of all ages. Proof once again that youth and beauty are always victorious even if it takes a little mischief to even the odds.
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